“There’s So Much Room for Activities!”

I love this Step Brothers quote. I had to laugh at myself this week at how excited I was to get into activities and meet new people. I’m an introvert by nature, and keep myself entertained at home for abnormally long stretches of time, but even I can admit when it’s time to change out of yoga pants, walk away from the internet, and face the world to make some new friends in a new city.

The first activity I jumped into was the one I was most scared of (because it’s the most important thing to me, and the one I keep closest to my heart out of fear): playing original music. I’ve made it a goal to not let the (looming) third decade of my life pass by with more years hiding in my room recording songs, though. It’s time to face the music. (Ha, ha.) But seriously. I dragged my terrified self to Open Mic Night on Sunday after noticing an advertisement on a storefront a few days prior. At first, I wasn’t going to sing, I was just going to scope it out and build up confidence for the next time. But as the group of mixed age musicians played original songs and covers, I felt the room warming. I knew this was about as safe a space as I could get. So I borrowed a dude’s guitar and played one of my songs, shaky hands and all. And I felt the room get quiet, listening intently, a barely audible buzz after I’d stopped playing, before they kindly clapped and invited me back next week. And it reminded me that THIS–this is the kind of moment I’ve fantasized about since preteen years, wanting to play music and be confident and just do my thing. *And 30 will be the year of all that.*

Monday night, I was tempted to stay in, but the idea of a Girl Gone International group, for traveling women, celebrating Galentine’s Day (a Parks and Recreation-inspired holiday I love), was appealing. So I dragged my nervous self out again. Minutes after finding the group at the bar, the organizer introduced me to a fellow Wisconsinite! Soon, a Chicago girl joined and our loud-talking Midwest accents followed. Successful night #2.

On Tuesday, I tried out a tai chi class at the local community center. I might have been one of the youngest person in the room, but the simple movements were surprisingly calming. A major thing I’ve learned in recent years is that the more zen-type activities I can do, the better. Daily yoga on the back patio where I live has been the most important part of my day, and on rainy days when I can’t get outside to practice, I notice a difference. At night, I planned to go to a ukulele group, but couldn’t make it work with my schedule. With a group name of “Mighty Ukelele Jam for Peace,” you’d better believe I’ll be trying to get there soon.

Wednesday, I showed up at a trivia night to join a group for child free women. I loathe trivia (mostly because I’m a useless team member), but I knew some fun girls I met Monday would be there (and I also needed a U.S. citizen to witness me vote in the Spring Primary. U.S. people: remember to vote on February 21!)

Thursday night, I got to relax with a traveler friend I met my first week in the country. We sat in comfy bean bag chairs outside at a bar near the beautiful harbor, after seeing THE most amazing sunset, on an unusually non-windy, not chilly evening. It’s supposed to be summer here, but the term seems to be used loosely. 😉

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Friday it rained all day, but I still made it to a hot yoga class recommended to me. A two-week unlimited new membership offer was the best deal, so I’ll be forcing myself to sweat like I’m going to melt away for a bunch more times. (I’ve done hot yoga before, but I truly believed at many points throughout this class that my skin was going to start on fire.) 🔥

So much room for activities! There is a part of me that’s been majorly geeking out over all these options, most of them found through MeetUp.com (which I totally recommend, wherever you live). It reminds me of when I started high school and got SO excited about all the new clubs I could join. And it’s nice to have room and time for activities now, because in college, I was devastated to realize I couldn’t juggle as many things, with my courseload, and job, and all the other stressors of having to focus and get to graduation day. It feels refreshing now to be able to fit fun things with like-minded people back into my schedule, with other adults who are similar to me and want to keep making time for the things they love to do.

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