Have you noticed that when you join a new gym that it takes a while before people will talk to you in the locker room, or when you’re passing from machine to machine? Then one day, after a few weeks, one then another of the regulars says Hi, or makes a pleasant comment. You’re given easier access to the mirror and maybe even an outlet for your hairdryer. Suddenly you’re “in”, or at least not “out” any more.
I call that time being on probation. I think it’s because the regulars don’t really even notice the occasional drop in, the’ try it once or twice and then quit’ people. Or perhaps it’s that they don’t want to waste their time and social energy on someone they’ll never see again. You have to keep showing up, doing the work (whatever the work is) and proving that you’re serious.
Monday at the walking pool it started happening for Syd and me. I think this is our 3rd week. We power through the circuit, moving faster than many of the other walkers. That means we frequently pass by or through other pairs and groups in the lanes.
There’s one group I’ve dubbed the Water Lilies. That’s because every time I walk out to the pool I see this cluster of hats gathered in the deep section of the pool. There they float; round and colorful, drifting slowly across the water as if pushed by a gentle breeze and swaying on long stems.
They’re always there. Sometimes as few as 5, other times as many as 8 or 9. They never leave the deep section. Around and around, up one lane and down the other. Moving at a leisurely conversational pace.
It takes Syd and me 5 minutes to walk a full circuit. That means we’ll pass the Water Lilies 8 or 9 times each session . Real interaction started on our fourth pass on Monday (approximately the 50th overall.) “You’re back already? You realize you’re speeding, don’t you?” “There’s a toll for passing.” All said with a big smile. Now we have some brief pleasant exchange on every circuit. And they’re making an effort to give us room to get around.
Yes, we’ve completed our probation and are now recognized as regulars. Pretty soon we’ll know each other’s names.
One of my first blogs after moving to Arizona was about how I’d failed to consider that I was leaving my community behind in California. The walking pool and the Water Lilies have reminded me how we find new friends and build new communities. It’s by finding something you love to do and then showing up regularly and doing the work. Staying the course and not giving up when none of the other “kids” will talk to you. You have to make it through probation first.
I love to explore new places and try new experiences. New places like distilleries, restaurants, and museums. I also love a thrill so zip lines, roller coasters, indoor skydiving (yes, it’s a thing), and escape adventures show up on my to-do list. If any of this sounds like what you love, consider joining my Adventure Club. I promise a very short probation.