I’ve been a bit remiss in posting the past few days, but I’ve had a lot on my plate! I was trying to plan things for my big “Creative Day of Genius” with three of my friends, which I held on Saturday, and that took up a lot of my time.
I am happy to report that this Day of Genius, inspired by Jenny Blake’s, was deemed a success by all those involved! The ladies appreciated the efforts I put into it, felt they had accomplished something by the end of the day and had good steps lined up for the future, and I think we all enjoyed the time spent together.
The morning began with blueberry muffins, tea and chatting in the kitchen, including breaking my big news to Audrey and Christine, who had not yet been informed of it. Their support was much appreciated. Then we started to bust out the necessary supplies for any successful Creative Day of Genius, including but not limited to:
- More magazines than any four girls should ever be able to produce (with the vast majority of them being from just me and Kirsten…)
- Markers, glitter, paint pens
- Stickers, ribbon and other accoutrements
- Colored pens
- A brand spankin’ new notebook for each of us
- Big paper for collage/vision board making
- Self-help books
- Good music
I started out with setting goals for the day. We all took about ten minutes to write down what we wanted to get accomplished for the day (or long term). Our goals ranged from making a shipment at UPS to thinking of ways to get over a boy; from setting a timeline for a job search to getting finances in order; and from finding happiness to becoming fluent in Swahili. After going over our goals and determining what we could accomplish in that day (we didn’t think we could get Christine’s Swahili goal checked off), we set out for the next exercise.
This one ended up being pretty intense for the girls. I had already done it, so I sort of acted as the “proctor” for it, and was hoping they would find it as useful as I had. I had them answer the first three questions that my 20 Something 20 Everything book had me answer:
- Who am I?
- What do I want?
- How do I get what I want or think I want?
When I answered these questions on my own, I found them to be very enlightening. The girls all groaned as I read the questions out loud to them, one at a time, and I enjoyed watching their thinking faces. But I think they all took it very seriously. After giving them time to answer the questions as thoroughly as they wanted, we took a little break.
We went downtown and got coffee (hot Jamaican tea for me) and then walked up Main Street for a bit for some fresh air and so Audrey could see Annapolis. Upon our return, we changed back into our sweats and then reconvened with our newly rejuvenated/caffeinated spirits to share our answers to these questions.
This collaboration and sharing process was the most interesting part of the day for me. These girls are three of my best friends – I’ve known two of them since freshman year of college and one since sophomore year. We share our lives with each other pretty openly, but I learned SO much more about each of them that I never knew before through this process.
I also found the similarities and difference very interesting. As we went through each question, I found a pattern.
For the first question, we all had very extensive lists of answers, and they were pretty different. The ways we described ourselves included follower of God, control freak, teacher, writer, feminist, pro-choice activist, and the lists went on and on.
When it came to the question of what we want, everyone’s list got a little bit smaller, and there started to be some more similarities and links among the four of us. To be published, to travel, happiness, fulfillment, self-confidence, a family, to be OK with failure and making mistakes. In addition to these similarities, there were also some deviations: a boyfriend, a country home with a big kitchen, to be a good role model for my nephew (guess who wrote that one?), to move somewhere new, to go back to Africa, etc.
The most remarkable thing to me though was the third question. With just a few exceptions (i.e. Kirsten’s “whining” answer), we all had pretty much the same things written down. How do we get what we want? Take risks. Prioritize. Be open to new opportunities. Create new opportunities. Don’t be afraid. Have a good support system. Be honest. Ask for what I want. Ask for help. Ask questions. Be true to myself.
I think this exercise really helped each of us to establish our priorities, our values and outline what the next steps might be for us. We spent a lot of time talking about these responses and encouraging each other, sympathizing, empathizing and offering our insights.
I was so proud of my three friends for participating in this day so openly and willingly. I am very close with each of the three of them individually, but none of them have ever been SUPER close in the past. They’ve all known each other, they’ve hung out (some more than others), but definitely did not have the types of open conversations we had during this day. We discussed faith, love, careers, family… I was worried before this day that I was being kind of selfish by inviting these three women who don’t know each other that well (but who know ME so well) because it could be awkward for them, it might be more self-serving for me, etc. But it didn’t turn out that way at all. In fact, I spent a lot of the time watching, observing and listening to their conversations.
There were tears, there were hugs, there was dancing, and there was a LOT of laughter. Overall, it was a successful day. I’ll write another post about the “action” part of the day, because we definitely did do more than just sit around and talk about feelings because that’s just one of the “dumb things girls do,” according to my friend Matt.
It may seem dumb to some people, but that’s what makes friendships worthwhile. These women have been with me through some of the most serious changes in my life, and I am so glad they’re willing to be there for the next one – and to let me (and each other!) be there for them through theirs!
Thank you, ladies, for participating in this day! I love you all!