Happy New Year! 2011 had its ups and downs: a broken heart healed; I travelled a bit; picked up a new language; graduated from University; lost a couple jobs, and gained a couple jobs; was in some plays I'm very proud of; became an entrepreneur; slept in too much and didn't sleep enough; and met some really amazing people.
A couple months ago, one of the great people I met in my travels directed me to this video. I had just lost my job, for inexplicable reasons, and was having a tough time. I was questioning why I had decided to stay in London instead of going off on the big adventures I've been dying to have. Whenever I feel depressed, or just want to be inspired, I watch that video. One of the most memorable things about it was the phrase "do one thing everyday that scares you." I decided to try things this year that scare me. Things that I would shy away from normally because of rejection, fear of failure, or fear of not enjoying it.
A few months ago, I founded my own production company, SEE Productions, and I'm directing my first show which opens in March. This is something that scares the shit right out of me! Everyday, I think about it and it fills me with a mix of feelings. Mostly a combination of enthusiasm and fear, pride and anxiety. This is a huge undertaking.
But today I did something again that "scared" me. Something that on the grand scale of things is a very little, unimportant, insignificant thing, but for a lot of people I know it would be "scary." I asked a completely random person out for coffee. Well, I guess not completely random, because we met yesterday in a random place and chatted and exchanged numbers.
I worked a shift yesterday that I wasn't scheduled for. After work, I was walking to the bus stop (I normally walk the 20 minutes home, but I just bought some new snow boots and had blisters) and passed by the Oxford Bookstore. The sign in the window declard "ANNUAL BOOK SALE - 20% OFF EVERYTHING." I really don't buy books because libraries are cheaper (i.e. free), but I figured I had nothing else to do that day and I can't resist buying things on sale. I spent a while in the store and picked up two books: Fluke by Christopher Moore (my best friend, Jess, loves this author) and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I paid and left the shop, purchases in hand, and walked to the bus shelter.
A few minutes later, this guy at the shelter asked me what I was reading. And it just jumped off from there. He seemed like an interesting guy: we both work in call centres (that's not interesting, of course), he's an artist and exhibited some work at the Arts Project (I am putting on my play at the Arts Project). He's tall. I liked his aviator sunglasses. And when he asked me for my number I thought, why not? He seems like a nice guy and he seems interested in me.
He texted me today telling me he had a head cold and asked how I was. I told him I had food poisoning last night. (FYI: don't eat pizza from Papa John's. I don't even know if I can eat pizza anymore, it's put me right off.) Then I asked him if he wanted to go for coffee tomorrow. And he said yes. It was a hell of a lot easier to ask via text than in person, but normally that isn't something I'd do (even though my best friends tell me I have the most balls out of our friends).
So today I did something that put me out of my comfort zone and asked the guy out for coffee. I wonder how it will turn out? Since watching that video, I have been trying new things and so far it's been positive. I think my favourite thing so far is how I cast the role of "Michael" in the play I'm directing. Last month, my roommates through a "Festivus for the Rest of Us" part at our house. My roommate Joel's brother invited some random guy sitting on a couch beside the dumpster in our complex into our house for the party. This guy seemed "normal" enough, he wasn't homeless (despite the dumpster-thing) and he wasn't creepy or weird. Talking to him, I asked him to audition for my show. I gave him my number and told him to message me to set-up an audition. I didn't think I'd hear back from him. But a couple days later, he came to audition and I thought he was quite good! Now he is the lead in my play! (And I think that's a great fucking story.)
I am not a believer in fate. Not at all. (I think people like to use fate as a way of explaining the unexplainable, or the unagreeable things that happen when we fuck up.) But I do like the idea of serendipity: a fortunate accident. Had my roommate's brother not invited the random guy into my house, I wouldn't have a lead for my play right now. Had I not stopped in the bookstore on my way home, I would have caught an earlier bus and never crossed paths with Bus Shelter Guy. It's these unexpected things that break up the ordinariness of everyday and make life more interesting.