The weekend has arrived and I want to throw something out there for consideration: how many of you have parties or get togethers just because? I know that I don't, or more so, I didn't. I became one of those people who penciled in everything. I call it by appointment love. My friend and my youngest son recently reminded me to take stock, be more present, and just have fun, for no reason other than just because. Sometimes life's little lessons come from the unexpected experiences. But you got to be open to catch em, and I did...
So my dear friend recently threw a party for herself to celebrate life and friendship. The gathering was held at a gorgeous club overlooking a glistening bay. The brilliant sun and blue sky outside dazzled everyone. Inside the grand room, the energy matched the glory. She was celebrating life--she'd been cancer free for a decade--and wanted to bring all her favorite people in one room and thank them for being present, helping her heal, and for enriching her life with love and friendship. It was a beautiful and generous gesture that she said she did for herself. I think she did more for those of us present than she intended. Well, I can only speak for myself, but I left that brunch with a heart overflowing with joy and a renewed commitment to be more present and to celebrate life just because, and for no specific reason.
A couple of days later, my youngest son told me he wanted to have fun with me. "Let's play a game," he said. I thought he was trying to get out of doing his homework, but I stopped, and sat down next to him, and listened. I was present and in the moment. His message was clear: he just wanted to have fun and with me. And we did. And we did the next day, and the next. And my heart is lighter. And I am glad that I listened.
The fact is that with the everyday business of our daily grind--job, school, parenting, laundry, cooking, church, relationships, exercise class, meetings, etc etc--many of us have forgotten to simply have fun, to stop and celebrate with loved ones for no apparent reason other than because. We've become mechanical robots, slaves to our daily routines, goals and responsibilities.
Most people get together for the Holidays, or special moments like birthdays, graduations, baptisms, bar mitzvahs, weddings, or sadly funerals. Rarely, if ever, do we just hang without a "purpose." I get that it's part of what keeps our industrialized nation operating. I know that it's simply not in our nation's character to be more chilled and relaxed--that kind of living is for other countries and people (usually the couch potatoes, or the lazy) or for when we are on vacation. And, it's certainly not in New York City's personality where everything is by appointment and with a goal.
But the thing is, it doesn't have to be. I know that at least for me, it's not in my cultural DNA. And this Spring with a gentle reminder of a good friend and the little shorty in my life, I decided to reclaim it. And it feels awesome.
I grew up in the Caribbean where people have a different sense of time. For instance, visits are rarely scheduled. People just stop by to say hi. Usually they'd have cool glass of water, fresh lemonade or a cafecito and catch up on the latest family gossip or town drama and just as they came, they leave, keep it moving to their final destination. It's a checking that I found kind of cool as a kid (and even now when I visit) because I got to meet some very fascinating characters. It's how I met my milk brother which I write about in my book.
While I recognize that unplanned visits would wreak havoc in my life if everyone I adored or know just decided to come calling but the idea is to balance my life a little more with those unplanned moments of fun. To make a commitment to be more open to allow unscheduled fun. To have parties with no purpose, more often, and soon. To look at life not in terms of a calendar and units that get filled but more fluid and open.
This new practice has been easier to implement than I thought. I've had lots of sweet connections with family members, friends I haven't seen in a while, even a sweet neighbor who lives around the block. I'm doing it in small steps with awareness and meaning, these connections without a purpose. They feel organic, good and right. And most of all, really, really fulfilling.