...and save it for next winter.
I'm spending many evenings (almost all of them for the last two weeks) with a wonderful, talented, friendly group of people. We're all throwing ourselves into something we love doing. We're all singing, dancing, and acting, and everyone is encouraging. Audience applause is magical, but applause from fellow cast members after a good scene is particularly special.
I often find it easier to get to know people while working or volunteering with them, as opposed to supposedly more socially-focused events like "come to this dinner and meet people." Community theater is almost tailor-made for me in that respect. There are so many things to work on and get involved with - onstage and backstage. I've gotten to know people through set painting and costume fixing along with getting to know people while learning music or blocking scenes. At one point, we were figuring out how to dress up a particular costume, and those of us in the room didn't have many ideas. I remembered that I had overheard one of the mothers giving suggestions a few weeks ago so I went and found her, introduced myself, and brought her in to the discussion. Now, I chat with her when I see her (and when we have time). I've never been anywhere where it's been so easy to get to know people.
I just realized if you're not involved in something like this, "one of the mothers" sounds kind of strange. Our community theater really emphasizes getting kids involved in the summer musicals, and the musical would not happen without their mothers! The mothers are constantly working on sets, props, and costumes while we're rehearsing. They volunteer backstage, get the kids dressed, take care of tickets and concessions in the lobby, get the kids where they need to be on time, supervise them between group scenes, etc. I've gotten to know more of the mothers this year too.
I'm also enjoying talking to people of all ages.* I just end up talking to whomever is around or standing next to me. At one point, yesterday, three of us in a conversation were 60/70-something, 40-something, and a teen. We were talking about stage things which all of us are interested in.
With the musical and a work project due Monday, I've been very busy this summer, and extremely happy. A large part of the happiness is also because daughter and older son are off from college and because I'm involved in this with them. Younger son and I also did set painting. However, I'd keep being involved even if they weren't because this is so much fun.
Last winter, we were sick a lot, dear husband was traveling, and, as I wrote about before, I was very lonely. I wish I could bottle up all the involvement, friendliness, and happiness that I have now in order to bring it out next winter and take a whiff or a sip just to remind me of this kind of joy and being involved in and surrounded by a community.
* I can't help but contrast that with the way things seem to go at most of the churches I've been to. There's a teen group, a young adult group, and a seniors group. I've never cared for things being that stratified. Yes, I like to talk to other mothers of college students or twelve year olds - but I don't want that to be my entire social life!!! One of the intergenerational groups at our church is choir, which is the only thing I'm involved in.
[Note: Opening night went really well, and I had a blast. We talked about it until the wee hours of the morning (I got to sleep at 1:45 am) so I'm exhausted today. This post was written yesterday while I was all energetic and excited...
...which I'll be again today by about 6 pm.]