It’s been two months. Last time I wrote, I had just started a new job, and the state of Colorado was becoming more and more like a home for me. Back to my old ways, sitting in a coffee shop, sipping on what recently to me has become the nectar of the angels, I am feeling more and more at home. You’ll know when I become more comfortable in a place when I make time for my favorite activity: writing. On this site, as most of you know, I make time for the things that cross my path and cause me to pause, that deeply interest me, that puzzle me, and that move me. Also, you’ll tend to find out whats going on in my life every once and a while.
The short version is that as a well practiced extroverted-introvert, I have learned the subtle arts behind making friends in a fairly foreign land. One would say that all you need to do is walk up to new people and start talking with them, then rinse-and-repeat. Actually…that’s pretty much all you need to do. BUT! Given how ‘entry-level conversation’ causes my brain to jump off a proverbial ledge, I have to work at it. I mean, I REALLY have to work at it. Most of my more bubbly friends would have had a solid base of friends in 36 hours flat. They would have set up events, house warmings, coffee dates, and outings. They would have become a staple in the community and run for town counsel by the end of the month. As for myself, I have to drag the useless, dead weight, carcass I call, “Eric’s social life,” through a tough mudder course just to have a semblance of stability. Oh yeah, it’s a fantastic dance. To those on the outside looking in at my “social store-front window,” I’m doing a great job. Also…there’s no way I’m introverted. Sweet. Like a real life store-front window, I’m showing the best parts, and have you fooled.
Here’s the work I did at 5am before the store opens: Packing up everything and moving to a state where I knew exactly one handful of people. Going to a brand new church…which if you didn’t know, is absolutely frightening…kind of ironic. Networking to find a job; this means meeting MANY new people and having those convos you know I love so much. Doing this for what seems like forever because you have to. Deciding to go out and be with people I barely know even though my Netflix account is much more friendly tonight. Deciding to go to a party I know only one person…sit in my car for 15 minutes…contemplate driving back home…deciding to turn my brain off….getting out of the car…walking to the party. Having MANY more of those entry-level conversations I love so much. Actually meeting people I might be able to live with. Making connections with a small group. Deciding to go to said small group where I know one person…sitting in my car for 5 minutes…turning off my brain…walking into the small group. Rinse-and-repeat for three weeks. Finally making friends at small group after showing up more often. Going to an outing after church one Sunday. Deciding to throw myself in the deep end and create a gathering of my own with a thing I love, rock climbing. Meeting more people after doing this consistently. Doing things with co-workers outside of work and making friends there. Getting easier now. Become more involved with small group and even considering leadership. Self freaks out and asks self what it thinks it’s doing. Turns brain off and does it anyway. Whoops! It’s 7am, time to open shop.
I guarantee that someone in your life goes through a similar experience. Sometimes the process is easier. For others, the process is much more difficult. Some never find the courage to put themselves out there and are content living life unmoved. I know that I can never do this for long and I actually miss being with people. More than that, I miss having people speak truth into my life. This was the hardest part of the transition. You don’t know what you’re missing if you’ve never felt it, but can I tell you that someone whom you allow to speak into your life, who knows you…the real you, is one of the best gifts a friend can give. It’s also one of the more difficult things to realize you no longer have. This requires trust, time, and an ability to be that for someone. This is not for everyone. People who have someone like this usually only have a few, if not just one whom they trust.
In this coffee shop I’m on my second cup of caffeine and it’s kicking in well. I like this time. It’s me, fellow coffee drinkers, and my writing playlist. I haven’t taken time like this since living overseas. The intentional slowing, thinking, and understanding. I’m quite vulnerable and a fairly open book, as the archives of this site can lend prove to that fact. Still, I have recently become aware of a flaw within myself by one of those rare truth speakers in my life; outside of maybe this site, I fail to initiate telling even those closest to me virtually anything about my life. Maybe I feel that I sound better when it’s written. Maybe that’s an excuse and I use this site as a crutch. Either way, I’m working on it….because I don’t want to be the person with a wall. I’ve never seen myself this way, but I think that it’s true. It’s a weathered wall, one with vines, cracks, and erosion marks. A wall that has seen me through the hardest times and stood firm. The wall has doors. But for some reason, even with my family, I haven’t released any keys. I believe this is my next challenge. Like a secret garden, keeping out those seeking entry, lies beauty and wonder…if only it were seen. We’re all a bit like that. Potential beauty, relying on trust. Until then.