Earlier this week I was listening to an 80s playlist, 1987’s Rock Hits to be precise, while I worked. I found myself singing along and taking little dance breaks in my home office or in the kitchen while I warmed up my coffee. I’d forgotten how much I loved this music when it was on the radio all day long. Remember listening to the radio? Making mix tapes and how much of a pain that was? Wednesday I listened to 1986’s Pop Hits and danced some more. It was nice to step out of today and go back in time a little bit.
This music took me back to my college days at George Mason. I remembered my first real snowfall, meeting so many new people, and being on my own so far from home. I was not the greatest student, but I managed well enough (finance class nearly did me in though). I went to class every day, but at least part of that motivation was to see people, to see all the new faces (translation: boys). I remember telling myself when I got there that I could be anyone I wanted to be. No one there knew me as the shy, reserved, awkward girl I’d always been. Well, almost no one. I did have my two best friends nearby. But maybe this was my opportunity to reinvent myself! Of course, this resolve didn’t last much past day one. I hadn’t put together a real plan for how to do that, you see.
I was chatting online with a friend recently (who I met my very first day on campus) about those days. I told him that I could look back and see so many missed opportunities to have more fun, to be more adventurous, take some chances. I was not a risk-taker. I was very much a rule follower. (Still am, really.) There was a guy I had a major crush on for months and one evening I found myself alone with him in his car, the two of us being randomly left alone to find our way to a basketball game or something like that. His car was close so he offered me a ride to the stadium (though we could have walked). I remember sitting in his car in the parking lot, nervous as anything. I also remember somehow my head ending up on his shoulder (or was it on his lap?) as we sat in the car, not going anywhere. Before he could do or say anything I broke the spell of whatever would have happened by suggesting that we should be getting to the game. Was I an idiot or what? Sigh.
That’s just one example. I could list several more missed opportunities to step out of my comfort zone. A slow dance that could have led to a little more. A concert date that should have ended with at least a goodnight kiss. And yes, it does seem like all these missed opportunities have men associated with them. I did meet my first husband in college. He was one of the guys I spent a lot of time with since we were in a club together and I got involved in the club’s activities in my role as the club secretary. When campus cleared out for spring break he took pity on me and took me out to a movie and dinner (at Wendy’s, I think… we were poor college kids you know). I think it was a week or two later that he started coming around my dorm more and we eventually kissed while I was supposed to be working on an English paper. The rest, as they say, is history.
But what would my life have been like if I’d said “yes” a couple of times instead of “no?” I wouldn’t trade the two amazing human beings that resulted from that marriage for anything in the world of course, but I can’t help but wonder. That’s kind of where I am now. I’m trying to figure out what to say “yes” to and where to draw that “no” line. I’m not just talking about men, but that’s where most of my good Catholic girl upbringing comes into play. I’m also talking about work, and travel, and just doing things on my own.
I recently took on two freelance opportunities for some web and communications work. They’re just a little something to keep me busy (and distracted) while also helping out a couple friends and they’ll put a little bit of extra money in my bank account. But I did hesitate at first before agreeing to either of them. Why? Maybe a little bit because sometimes I suffer from impostor syndrome, afraid I’m not really qualified or good enough to do the job. And a little bit because it takes me a step or two out of my comfort zone. But I did agree and I’m glad. A little challenge now and then is good, right? A bigger challenge might be even better.
Not sure what that bigger challenge will be yet. A solo road trip adventure to somewhere new? Kind of just did that two and half months ago, though didn’t I? What’s next?
For today’s Music Friday offering, here’s something from the 80s, and I almost can’t believe I’m doing this. Yes, it’s Keep your Hands to Yourself by The Georgia Satellites. Just because it fits what I just wrote about, don’t you think? It was either this or Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone, but I think this one fits today’s theme a little better.
PS: With today’s post I am over 400 posts! 🙂