As I reflect on 2022, I’m thankful for a great many things. My husband took an early retirement in March, we sold our home in April, bought an RV in May, I assumed the role as coach for something called The Life Skills Project in June, we took a cruise to Alaska in July, and so it went. It was a good year — until today, when we learned our dog has terminal cancer.
I’m thankful for it all — the good and the bad, but serving as a Life Skills coach was, by far, the most fulfilling. I had no idea how much I’d missed being with people during the pandemic. We completed two course rounds this year. My first had 11 people in it — the perfect size. We met via Zoom each week for eight weeks, working through a book called The Little Things: Why You Really Should Sweat the Small Stuff by my boss, Andy Andrews.
The way it works is, we each come to the Zoom table each week having read the assignment — usually 1-2 chapters. We begin by discussing anything we may have encountered in the week since our previous meeting that may relate to something we’ve learned in the chapters we’ve covered so far, then we tackle that week’s chapters. The course is highly interactive. I begin by summarizing the chapter and saying a few things to lead us into the discussion, and then it flows naturally from there, allowing each class member to share their insight, wisdom, examples, thoughts, etc.
What moved me so deeply is how quickly I grew to value the input of each class member. What incredible wisdom was shared — I learned FAR more from them than anything I had to offer! We had a variety of age groups in there, but I am confident all the young whippersnappers would agree, the wisdom the older folks shared was by far the most valuable. Friendships were quickly forged, and eventually, taken offline.
In September, I had the honor of meeting my oldest class member from that first class. She lived near where John and I were camping, so we decided to go spend a day with her. I cannot begin to explain what that did for us — or for her. What an incredible blessing it was!
Another lady from that class invited me to do a Bible Study with her — and another lady from another Life Skills course joined in. The Lord blessed me with two more friendships — people I’d have never have met outside that class! I wouldn’t trade these new friendships for anything in this world.
My second course went much the same. And though I do want to invite you to consider joining my January class, that’s not why I’m telling you all this.
I just want to encourage you to find your people.
That looks different for each of us. Maybe for you, that means starting a Bible Study, attending the ladies luncheon at church every Tuesday, Men’s Prayer breakfast at church on Saturday morning, or playing volleyball or basketball at the rec center with a bunch of friends. Maybe that means going hunting with a buddy. Maybe it means taking a class, or joining a book club. Whatever the activity — stop making excuses and just do it.
One of the biggest excuses I hear from people about taking a class — be it mine or someone elses, is “I’m too old” or “I’m too busy.” I know what busy looks like, and I get that — we make time for what’s important to us. But old? You’re never too old! I’ve had more than one 80-year-old class member who managed to figure out how to use Zoom and show up each week — and I promise you, they loved every minute of it. I had two older class members tell me that taking that 8-week course completely changed their outlook on life, helping them realize they DO still have purpose. What an encouragement!
We were not created to live in isolation — you’ve no doubt heard the adage “no man is an island unto himself.” We need others so we can thrive, and so we can encourage others to thrive!
So, let this be a challenge to you — whether you’re 20 or 90 — make 2023 the year you find your people.
(and if you can’t figure out where they are, join me in studying The Little Things! Bring a friend! I’d love to have you, and I can pretty much guarantee you’ll find them there!)
*Crossposted to Substack*