I knew she was a stalker.
I mean that in the best possible sense of the word. She wasn’t making life creepy for an ex. She was always stalking people in pursuit of the bucket list selfie.
I knew this because I saw the pictures show up on her Facebook wall every so often… Peter Sagal (host of Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, the NPR news quiz), Garrison Keillor (are you sensing a public radio theme?) and Roy Williams, coach of the UNC basketball team (hey, it was her bucket list, not mine.)
So this week some of us went together to hear one of our very favorite authors, Anne Lamott. My friend ambushed Garrison Keillor just a week before in that same auditorium so she had the recon down.
Turns out we didn’t need it. All of a sudden her eyes lit up as she pointed to a group of women gathered in the aisle on the other side. “There she is,” she said. “She’s signing books! We’ve got twenty minutes – let’s go.”
You have to understand, this is not my natural inclination. I can be shy sometimes, and my default setting is to crane my neck to watch the others, wishing I could go, envying the ones who do go. But with my friend, there is no neck craning. Before I could waffle, we were on the move.
As we stood in the aisle I morphed into Ralphie anxiously waiting to see Santa in A Christmas Story, knowing that it was vitally important that I see this person but afraid that the store would close first.
How often do we talk ourselves out of getting out of our seats and going for what we really want? We book the same place for vacation every year because that’s where we always go, ignoring the part of us that wants to explore some place new. We don’t take the pottery class because we might not be any good at it. We don’t say hello to the interesting person we’d like to have as a friend because after all, why would they want to be friends with us?
We proactively disappoint ourselves rather than take a chance on life disappointing us.
In college I was asked to play trumpet in the orchestra. Excited, I said yes at first. And then the shy, not very confident person stepped forward again and I bowed out. I didn’t know if I could do it so I didn’t try.
I have regretted it ever since.
I’ll not lie. It helps to have a stalking selfie queen as a friend. But lacking that, sometimes we have to be that friend to ourselves.
What is that thing you really want to do, that place you really want to go? As long as it will not hurt anyone else nor yourself and you’re not likely to wind up in a North Korean prison, go for it.
The worst that can happen is that life will say no. The best that can happen is that it will say yes.