July 20, 2007

The Long Lost Social Life

I’ve been in college for almost a decade now, in one form or another. There are certain stereotypes and expectations which one has for the college coed, expectations I have never particularly met, such as a social life. My social life at the University consists of green builders’ meetings, sangha meetings, women’s commission meetings, the occasional lunch with a friend between classes, and the very, very rare bar-hopping.

Therefore, it is somewhat surreal now, here, to be finding the kind of social life I was always supposed to have - intramural sports, sushi with friends, dates, movie theaters, girls’ night parties, keggers, barbeques, karaoke, cards, ice cream runs, coffee shop music, art galleries, hiking, Dharma talks, movie nights, dance parties, pouring over photographs, and sitting around talking about nothing and everything. I am finding here the sudden expansion of my heart and room for innumerable friends - friends who play academic balderdash, who like photography as much as I do, who ask serious questions and silly questions, friends with broken hearts and open hearts, beautiful minds and crazy wisdom, friends who like strange movies, borrow my stuff and loan me their stuff, friends who like Japanese food, mead, and good pizza, younger and older than myself, male and female (and androgynous), artists and nerds and good people all.

I am starting to understand there are things better than sleep. My precious, protected, sleep cannot compare to getting in at two in the morning after soccer, sushi, and Harry Potter with good friends, one of whom I only met moments before taking him with us. My much vaunted “best skill” can be sacrificed for a girls’ night of dancing, wine, chocolate, and coloring books, or a going away party with firelight, live guitar, and a moonlit horseback ride home. My bed can wait a little longer when I’m being dragged into a banquet, handed a glass of sake, and told to make myself at home. Curfew can be ignored (until the Kasung find us) when someone has new photographs to look through or an insight into the Dharma to explore.

Spending a night at home with a good book, curling up together to watch a movie, or taking an afternoon nap is still as beautiful as it always was. I like to sit quietly in the courtyard and watch the people go by or sleep in on a lazy Sunday morning. I look forward to those things more partly because I know that after I can wander down and find someone to go play pool with at the Pot Belly.

I wonder what I’ll do when I get home to Nebraska?


Waylon said...

You know you're mentioned in today's NY Times? Congrats! Looks like you're having a lovely Shambhala summer--i've spent nearly 1/5 of my life up there, most summers...I miss it so much right now. - Way

Monica said...

Wow! That's funny! The first day he was here we took Matt (the reporter) down to Ft. Collins with us for soccer, sushi, and Harry Potter. He said he was on a road trip accross America, but never mentioned the travel reporter bit. Suppose it would have blown his cover. :-)

It's a good article, except for the "get boozed" bit, but can't blame him for that. You don't leave the world behind when you come here, and if you bring you party habits with you they tend to continue. I've drank since I've been here, but never more than two glasses of anything and that rarely. I think it's the same with most. However, there is a subset who is rather more abusive of alchohol than I, or many others, feel comfortable with. It is an ongoing subject of community discussion. Drinking is accepted, but drunkeness is not. There is a lot of support here also for AA and other 12 step programs. I know a few folks who have come here after going through AA and commented that this is a really supportive environment for keeping up that practice.

Otherwise, it was a good article. I noticed he seemed alone quite a bit and I worried about that, but I am glad to read that he was able to make a connection on his last night here. I hope he has a good trip.

Thanks for the link.

Kyla said...

Miss Monica,
When you come home to Nebraska I hope that we'll be able to carry on with your new found social life!

I miss you much and look forward to seeing you soon!

Christine said...

Social lives in college: overrated. Social lives after college: not so much.

Cool blog!

thealphafry said...

Hello. Found you through the NY Times article... Think I may drop by some more. The ever elusive social life... I think in college it can be easier but I'm not much of a socialite and more a homebody... Though sushi, coloring books, hikes, movie theatres, photography, karaoke, ice cream, art galleries, and dancing all sound good to me!

Monica said...

Kyla, I miss you too. We will go out, I promise! Just don't expect me to suddenly turn extroverted, I'm still usually the quiet one at the table. But I like it that way because it makes for such wonderful one-liners when they come out of left field. Take care!

Thanks to everyone else. Take care of yourselves!