Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Time to get out and play...

So, here we are about 7 months into our tenure as...Chapel Hillians, (I probably just made that up, but I'm going with it anyway...) halfway through the school year, and I'd have to say that for the most part things are coasting along nicely. The boys have each adjusted to the Middle/High School transitions and their new schools. They've met lots of friends through neighborhood connections and soccer bonding. But it's precisely this--their active adolescent social lives--that shines a spotlight on an issue for yours truly. You see, never having moved more than an hour in any direction in my previous migrations around the state of Maryland, I've always been able to maintain my existing friendships, without having to go searching for new contacts. But suddenly here I am, 300 miles away from all of my buddies (Hi, you guys! Don't worry, I won't ever forget you!)...and seriously needing to meet some people.

Don't get me wrong--I'm not saying I've been living like a hermit, or anything. We've met neighbors, and we've made it a point to at least introduce ourselves to the parents of kids with whom Derek and Riley have been hanging out on a regular basis. Also, in a strange-but-happy coincidence, an old playgroup pal from Olney put me in touch with a friend of hers who moved here from our area 3 years ago with her family. She and I met, hit it off, and have been getting together regularly for coffee or lunch ever since. Small world!

But now the time had come to take some additional definitive steps toward expanding my social horizons. That's right, I'm just gonna get out there and...stop people on the street and introduce myself. No, no...that's not it at all. (Because, you know "Law Enforcement" is not quite the element I'm aiming to attract...) Hmm...this is trickier than I thought...what's an adult--who lacks the built-in network of school and sports and...neighborhood shenanigans--to do when seeking...playmates? (You know, for grown-up games...like, um..."book chats"...or perhaps "cocktail hours"...) So after unsuccessfully wracking my brains trying to figure out a plan of attack for this little problem, I turned to the default option of our digital day and age: Google, of course.

First I did some...sort of...soul-searching, to pinpoint what exactly I was seeking. Well, one of the reasons we chose this area was for the opportunity to be outdoors in all 4 seasons...let's start there. So I typed in something along the lines of "fitness groups" or "hiking clubs"...and hit the jackpot. After sorting through the plethora of choices, I selected 2 to join (one of them I had to actually ask to be approved...and--whew!--was I relieved when I was accepted!). Next I scrolled through their "Coming Attractions" and signed up for a couple of events.

The first one actually happened this past Saturday, and consisted of a nice walk on a paved trail through some local forestland. As it turned out, the weather wasn't too lovely--and by that I simply mean that it was a chilly, damp 40*, with the threat of sprinkles looming overhead--so the only other attendees were the couple who organized the group. Well, that just meant that I got to log a 3-mile stroll while enjoying a nice get-to-know-you conversation...which is all good. As a bonus, on this particular trail there's an offshoot leading up a hill to a well-known local coffee establishment. We laughed that on the return trip--having earned it by completing our jaunt--we should stop off for a cup of joe. By the time we were headed back, it had begun to seem like not so much of a joke...as a "really great idea". So...mission accomplished: I met 2 very nice folks, checked off exercise for the day, and got to savor a truly excellent java fix...yay! Next up is another outing scheduled for this coming weekend, and also the hike I registered for with the other club.

Okay, since I was on a roll, I also decided to make an effort--again--to locate a suitable dance class. It's been a continuing disappointment for me that--although there are multiple studios in this area--the only modes they seem to offer for adults are tap and ballet...neither of which I have any desire whatsoever to take. I've also discovered from past experience that I don't enjoy Zumba...and I just can't work up any interest in a Jazzercize-type...thing. So I carefully turned to my old amigo Google once more, and tried to word my request in such a way as to get...appropriate suggestions. I mean c'mon..."Adult Dance Class" just sounds...vaguely stripper-y, right? I figured you couldn't just type that in, unless you were keen on perfecting the process of skillfully shedding your apparel whilst winding yourself suggestively around a pole...and while I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that...it's soooooo very much NOT me.

Anyway, however I ended up phrasing my search, I got a hit for something called Cardio Funk, an 8-week session held at the Arts Center in Carrboro, 2 miles from my house. By emailing the instructor, I found out that she herself is a dancer, and runs each class with a standard format: warmup, stretching, strength and conditioning, learning and practicing a portion of a dance routine, and cooldown. Wait...That. Sounds. Awesome! It's literally exactly what I've been looking for...and it's located practically in my own backyard. Whoo hoo! I got permission to show up on the first night and give it a trial run, to make sure it was everything I hoped...and I'm delighted to say that it WAS. We got limber ("ish", I am still a 40-something woman, after all); we got sweaty; we boogied...it was altogether suuuuuuper fun.

So there you have it. I'm getting out there, doing my best to put myself in interactive situations and secure some new friends...and haven't even had to resort to accosting innocent, unsuspecting strangers on the sidewalks...let's hope I'm on a better path (so to speak) and it doesn't come to that!

No comments: