It has been a long while since I’ve been to a big party. The Crankee Yankee and I, plus two old friends of ours headed down to MA last night to join our model railroad club for a post-holiday party. The host and hostess always let us party in their beautiful home, and we always feel at home there. There were a lot of people I did know, and several I didn’t know. I did my usual party routine; I poured myself a glass of wine and parked myself in a corner.
Then I thought of my mother, who always went out of her way to make people feel comfortable. She had a knack for gently pulling a shy person into a crowd, introducing them and staying there until the shy person felt more at home. So I took a deep breath and a long sip of pinot, and walked out of my corner.
I introduced myself to a few people, and asked them about themselves, what connection they had with our hosts, what their interests were, and so on. I met a lovely woman who is owned by three cats and one little dog, and we shared stories about our animals and how they get along with each other. We talked about effective ways to clean pee stains out of rugs, and how to get a long-haired cat used to being brushed.
After I filled a plate, I sat down by the fire with four people I didn’t know, and one I did know. It took us exactly three seconds to get to know each other and then start sharing stories. I got to know a lovely woman who is a fellow reader and gardener, and also her husband, who was an investment broker in New York City for years. I asked him what that was like, and he rolled his eyes and smiled. He told me that, once you get past the hustle-bustle and rat raciness of it all, you get to know people.
He went on to say that what he learned from this was that it is people who matter, not their money or fame. He found that when he let go of anger, frustration and trying to beat the clock, he found peace of mind. If someone in traffic was right on his bumper, he let them go ahead of him. If someone pushed in front of him to grab a newspaper, he stood back and let them go with a smile. He made decisions all during his day to be kind, forgiving, and most of all, HAPPY. He said that his attitude greatly affected his life and health; he felt better about himself and the world around him. Even his blood pressure came way down. In short, he found peace within.
As all of us in that group were pretty much from the same generation, we laughed our heads off about the original Saturday Night Live gang, old movies and TV shows, favorite actors and so on. It was a wonderful night, and I realized that I hadn’t had that much fun in a long time.
Once home, I sat up for a while, thinking about the evening and how it changed me. I realized three major things from this party:
- I can choose happiness
- I can reach out to others, and it’s ok if we do or don’t connect
- It’s ok for me to have a good time
So last night was much more than a party to me; it was life-changing and life-affirming. Sure, I lost my beloved mother last month; it was devastating. But she of all people would be the first to advocate partying, singing, dancing, telling bad jokes and laughing. When she was really tickled about something, she would throw back her head, cross her legs (probably to keep from peeing) and flap one hand over her heart and howl with laughter.
Now THAT’S an image I can keep in my head forever. 🙂