I attended the Erma Bombeck Humor Writers Workshop last April. There was recently a request for attendees to comment on successes they’ve had since that time. If you know this particular group of people, you would know that successes are measured in many ways.. “I finally found the courage to ask for what I want,” or “I finished and published my novel” are both acceptable answers. I thought long and hard about my own answer to this call for success stores ,because I did not finish a novel, nor did I find courage to speak up. I found my people.
Every meeting, everyday, every meal, snack, session, and after hours moments led me to the most interesting, loving, and funny people you could imagine – and not always in the knee slapping belly laughing kind of way. I sat next to a woman who lost her 16-year-old daughter to suicide. She shared her story with me, how she came to terms with things and now she was looking to find her “funny” again, It’s as if the ‘funny’ was a drug. Of course there were outlandishly funny people there, including stand up comics, humor bloggers, even TV personalities known for their funny side. And there was no shortage of fiction and non-fiction writers of satire. The most hilarious new greeting came from a person who told me “I don’t even know why I’m here! I’m not even a writer!” She was looking for something new.
Some of us find our people at Wal-Mart, some at Armani.
It’s important to find your people, no matter what age you are. I found my people in college where I learned how to party, and the value of hard work. I found my people in my first ‘real job’ where all of us post grads suffered under the hand of a boss who makes Michael Scott seem average. I found my people when my twins were born and a bunch of the moms of twins joined in joy and misery. I found my people at Erma.
From every stage of my life I’ve found my people, because I go out and be where we can find each other. I’m not always looking for them, I don’t know who they are, what they look like or when they will show up. I know it when they come however, because they fill up a space I didn’t know was open and it just feels right.
The best piece of relationship advice I ever got was from a friend who was from the young professional version of me – those people. I will never forget what she said while I was despairing about meeting that someone. “Just do what you like to do,” she said. “You’ll find like minded people who like to do what you like to do, and then you can do that together.” In fairness my mother probably said that to me, many times, but let’s face it, mom advice is usually only good in hindsight.
I spoke to my friend, the advice-giver recently, and even though it had been years and years since we spoke, it was as if it was just the other day that we parted.
Once you find even one of your people, they will always be with you, in different geographies, or sizes, or importance, but they never leave, they’re you people after all, and you are theirs.