I have figured out why it was necessary for me to start my meetup groups. I told people that it was because I am shy and that by being an organizer, I have a role to play and I feel much more comfortable. But then I realized that was only part of it. The main reason I had to organize meetup groups was so that I would have to actually go.
Friday night was my first movie meetup group. I had worked all day and if I wasn’t the organizer, I would not have gone. I would have stayed home. Instead I walked 3 blocks, hoped the train for two stops and walked to the movie theater just around the corner from the Western El stop. A friend from my dining group was already there. That was a nice beginning. In the end 13 people showed up. We saw The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I had seen it the previous week but someone in the group had suggested it and I thought it might be a good beginning. I have read all the books and have seen all the Swedish movies based on the books. Some of the others had also read the books or watched the earlier version of the movie. Some had done neither. It made for good discussion after the movie at the Turkish. I always worry organizing that things will not work out, but they usually do and people don’t judge you if there are a few kinks. They are generally grateful to you organizing the event.
Organizing groups also makes you realize that you really should show up for other people's groups that you have signed up for. So yesterday morning I got up and thought of a hundred reasons why I didn’t need to go to the meditation retreat I had signed up for. But I went. I have only done a little meditation, mostly through a study I had done last summer at the hospital. I was surprised that this meditation was not much different from that. I guess meditation is meditation. A whole day of it was just a little too much for me. But the teacher also gave a talk about mindfulness and the connection between the meditation and trying to be present in our lives. We ate our lunches mindfully and we kept silent except for the instructions and some question and answer sessions. It was an interesting day. I felt amazingly calm and peaceful. The good and the bad of not talking was I didn’t have to make conversation with strangers but I didn’t get to meet people either. I could have stayed after but I was tired and I was meeting Kate for dinner. A jump back into the real world.
Today, I had a brunch with my dinner group. The largest group yet. Seventeen people. The problem with sit down meals is that you only really get to talk to the people around you. I had a number of new people I only got to say hello to abut they looked like they were having a good time. The food was good and the bottomless mamosa's were great! Next on the agenda for the group is pub crawl in two weeks. An over 50 pub crawl. 3 pubs, one restaurant. Twenty people have already signed up. The good thing is we will be able to mingle more and talk to everyone instead of just a few. I am still trying to decide what my third group will be.
It is the first of the year. A time for new beginnings. As I said in my last blog, I have great anticipation for this year. And I tend to want to make lost of new years resolutions. My brother John wrote to me and said he started to make resolutions but decided maybe he was good enough. I loved that. He also said he is too old to worry too clueless to care. He has 4 years on me. I hope in 4 years I will feel the same.
I came across a website called something Zen. It is a blog from a guy that has made tremendous changes in his life. He said that in order to make a change you have to change a habit. And that you can only change one thing at a time and it takes 30 days. He says that your mind cannot really focus on more than one thing at a time. The key here is focus. I am reading a book called Fast Thinking, Slow Thinking which supports this ideas. Fascinating book, but slow reading.
So potentially if all the habits stuck, you could make 12 changes in the year. At first I thought no, no, no, that is too long. I have to do it all now. Or O.K. is that one habit in each of the 8 areas in my life I have identified that I need to focus on to have a move balanced life? And then I thought about what I had actually changed, and the answer was not much. So I have decided to give it a try. Blogging was not first on the list. I’m not sure it is on the list at all. It just seems like something I want to do right now. First on the list was to drink 2-3 liters of water a day. My good or bad eating habits seem to begin with my water intake. I am however sort of cheating because I have also given up carbonated beverages at the same time which means I have also given up caffeine. Is that all part of the same thing or is it really 3? Anyway the water is going well, but I am drinking juices and hot chocolate and other things to compensate for no pop as we call it here in Chicago. What I have discovered this week is I don’t lose weight drinking more water and giving up pop. I thought I would. But I feel much better, I have much more energy and I think I am generally sleeping better.
At the beginning of February, I will change another habit. What will it be? I am focused on my diet at the moment so I am thinking it will be not drinking calories or maybe limiting it to 100 calories a day just so I have have something to drink other than water. We will see. I need to fit in exercise somewhere because I have joined a gym. One of my new friends took me to water arobics and it was a blast. The gym is a little pricy but it has two pools, an indoor track, lots of classes and the crowd tends to be a little older. And it is cheaper than the cable I gave up.
Somewhere, sometime, I need to fit in photography to my habits. Blogs need pictures. Maybe I will just dip into my archives next time to add a little interest.