Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's My Birthday, Too

Sometimes I get nervous about hanging out with more than one person at a time. I've been slowly waking up to this feeling for a few years now, and I became particularly aware of it the other day because I heard someone else talking about it.  It was a fun "Oh, me too!" moment because the lady who was talking about having this feeling of really just preferring to be with one other person is also trying to let go of her story around it.

Last Friday I was doing something I was totally comfortable with: having dinner at a restaurant with my boyfriend, Mike. Suddenly, things changed when two ladies came up to our table to say "hi." I had briefly met both of these gals before, and Mike knew them from many years of living in the same small town. One of the reasons I get nervous about socializing is because I ALWAYS assume that everyone in the whole wide world is way cooler than I am, smarter than I am, or just generally a better person with more life experience.

This feeling has magnified for me since moving to a new place because so many things I don't know about come up in conversation. Things like raising baby goats, the name of that hiking trail on the way to the Ski Valley, and how to get a divorce are just a few examples of things that people around here seem to know a lot about whereas I'm still learning. Back at the restaurant the other night, our conversations naturally broke in two with Mike talking to the way-sweeter-and-prettier-lady than me, while I started talking to the way-hipper-and-more-badass one than me. All things could have been relatively okay because I was having a one-on-one conversation again, but this particular lady is so unbelievably cool that I didn't know why we weren't all just shutting up and beholding her every word. God this lady is awesome, she has a raspy voice, a backpack, she and her husband are opening a brewery, she just got back from Coachella, and she was wearing sandals.

"Gosh," the voice in my head started up. "We both LOVE Radiohead, but she's actually seen them LIVE." I kept asking her more and more questions, trying not to offer too much information about myself since I am so LAME-ASS compared to her. Until, until, suddenly, somehow it came out that she has the exact same birthday as I do! WHAT??? Me and this totally amazing and gorgeous creature share the deep mystical truth of being born on the same day? What a fun fact! And as it turns out, that whole time, I was wearing sandals, too! This revelation served as a particularly wonderful reminder of  the definition of enlightenment:  "a state in which the separateness of self and other dissolves in the realization of the oneness of being."

It's easier for me to remember this "oneness of being" whenever I think that whoever it may be, whether it's Paul McCartney, a baby goat, or everybody in the whole entire restaurant, all have the same birthday that I do.

And now I will self-consciously ask my first ever non-hypothetical, non-rhetorical question on tipsandtricks: 

What works for you?

Please comment below with any and all things that help you to remember your sameness versus your differences with anyone or the whole human race, and hopefully we can all walk away from this post with a few more party tricks up our sleeve.


jesgale said...

I figured it out. Just now.

So, last weekend I did this workshop with an Indian teacher. I'd heard about it from a woman I've been taking class with at the studio downtown. She said, "You gotta go", so of course, I went.

Preface: I do the same thing. More often than not, I think a lot of people are WAY cooler than me. ESPECIALLY ones that teach yoga. And, they're DEFINITELY older than me. My guess was she was 29, 30. I know, that's not even that much older. But still.

At some point during the workshop I over heard her talking to someone else about how old she is. GUESS WHAT. She's my age. Actually, she's 20 something days old than me. Same birth month (different astrology).

O M G. This changed everything. This was a huge lesson for me. While learning what helps remind me that we're all the same, I learned that apparently at some point, I learned the idea that everyone older than me was smarter than me, and way better at life, and everyone younger was not.

This is all very interesting because I don't even believe that! I don't believe that age is necessary for, or an clear indication of smart-ness (intelligence or otherwise). Also interesting because at every moment there are more and more people younger than me, and less and less people older.

Anyway, it immediately made me drop everything - all the STUFF I had in my head around her. How much cooler she was than me, how much smarter she must be because she's older - and CHILL OUT.

Age is the thing that creates the divide for me. If I think - hey, we're the same age, no big deal. It helps me drop my shyness - you know what I mean - the thinking that we're somehow different.


Ashleigh Beyer said...

DUDE. Thank you SO much for sharing this AWESOME story on tipsandtricks. My favorite part of this story is that it came from you---you're probably one of my "youngest" close friends. And sometimes when we're hanging out or corresponding just for kicks I remember you're age and it always trips me out because you have such an "old soul"/age doesn't matter at all. I am SO GLAD you had this Aha! moment. Deep news about more and more people younger than you all the time and less and less people older--I'd never REALLY thought about that. Thanks jesgale.

Ashleigh Beyer said...

*your age :)

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