Wooden Monkeys, Shoes and Getting out More.

When I moved back to BC in November following my break-up I knew I wanted a change. Correction: I needed a change. Desperately. I willfully gave up the fast pace lifestyle of Toronto that included a lot of open bar media parties, late nights and uncomfortable (but sexy) footwear in favour of living with my 60-year old Mom in “Sleepytown” – the mid-sized beachside town I grew up in on the West Coast of Canada. These days my life involves less stilettos and late night cocktails and more Birkenstocks, quiet nights & peaceful times spent with my best friend and her 2-year old daughter. Sometimes I have these moments where I catch myself missing Toronto. I miss the friends I have there and I’ll often find myself standing in front of my closet feeling sorry for some of the pieces of my wardrobe that never get worn anymore. This town’s biggest downside is that there is nowhere to wear things like rainbow coloured Marc Jacobs shoes, a vintage Armani dress or a luxurious fur vest without looking slightly ridiculous. On the flip side, I feel at peace here. I’m healthy, I get lots of fresh air and my hair hasn’t looked this thick in years (FYI. Toronto water is murder on your locks. Trust me.)

However, this newfound sense of peace has allowed me to get “comfortable” – maybe a little too comfortable. In fact, I’ve settled into the laid back pace here so well that sometimes it feels like I’m living the life of a Senior Citizen. Recent Vegas antics and Portland wine tour  aside – my day to day life is pretty low key. I work from home and spend a lot of time alone or with my family. I was OK with all of this until one day I caught myself lingering a little too long for my own comfort in the scrapbooking aisle of Walmart before moving on to another store where I legitimately contemplated buying a giant body pillow shaped like a sock monkey. Hello, rock bottom. Nice to meet you.

A few days later my Mom sat me down and said:

“I’m getting kind of worried about you. I think you need to get out more”

I had to laugh to myself. A few months prior to this conversation, my life regularly involved going to a cocktail party, coming home around 11:30 (half tipsy), editing a freelance article before filing it & getting up early the next day to go to my day job. The last thing I needed was to “get out more”

My Mom: “I think you’re getting a bit….weird. Maybe you should try making some new friends”

Is it possible that my rapidly growing wooden monkey collection tipped her off?

Considering it was 4pm and I was wearing leopard print pyjamas when she told me this, I had to agree.

Lately, I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to socialize, make new connections and re-establish old ones. The last time I actively tried to make new friends was when I moved to Toronto, 12+ years ago. Here is what I’ve learned from the process this time around:

Making new friends means doing things you never thought you’d do. 

This summer I did something I swore I’d never do.

I joined a book club. 

I’ve been anti-book club for as long as I can remember. Mostly because I dislike the idea of “assigned reading.” However, my friend let me in on a secret: book clubs are really just an excuse to hang out, drink and eat delicious things. I’m very good at doing all of those things!

FYI. We’re currently reading Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by the Bloggess and How to Make Love like a Pornstar by Jenna Jameson, which we’re meeting on Thursday to discuss. This is my kind of book club.

Although joining a book club feels like the stereotypical thing you do when you move back to a small town, it’s a start. You can’t go on a wine bus tour everyday. Besides, the book club girls are nice and I just might get to wear my rainbow Marc Jocobs shoes after all.

What I didn’t mention about the wine tour that I probably should, is that I spent the next 12 hours afterward being violently ill. It was bad. Really, really bad. Like, “I’m so embarassed that I’m 31 and this is happening to me” BAD. Me and that much wine are not friends. My Mom and I were discussing this the other day:

My Mom: “You really freaked your sister out. She called me that night to tell me that you were passed out on the bathroom floor”

Me: “I heard that conversation which means I wasn’t passed out. I was merely resting between dry heaves. There’s a big difference”

To which I added with a smile and a raised eyebrow, “Besides Mom, you should be proud of me. I made a lot of new friends that day!”

Mom: “I think you should stick to book clubs”

So there you have it. Things to take away from this post: I need to make more friends and probably quit drinking.

If you have any advice on either of the above, please share!

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