As a young man I was seeking the answers to living a life different from what I was experiencing and different from how I grew up. I grew up in a small town and I was very shy. I had hoped that by moving to the city it would give me an opportunity to change my life. When I moved to “the city” I couldn’t seem to find the friends that I was seeking. In fact I didn’t know what I was seeking. I couldn’t find many things to do and then I didn’t have any friends in the new town that I had moved to. I was overwhelmed. I would go to visit with the people that I met at work, but they didn’t seem to reciprocate and stop by my place and visit with me. That made me feel that I wasn’t sure what it means to have friends. So I had to learn how to be the fun person who was living a fun life. So here is my story of going on to become a great fun adventure planner for myself and friends.
As a young man in a new city it started out as a time of hanging out alone. Over time I did get invited to go on adventures planned by others like tubing and camping at the Kern river. Going out to clubs and listening to a band. Going to a concert in the park.
As time went on I started putting together different types of trips that I enjoyed like going to the desert for hiking and exploring at Twenty-Nine Palms and trips along the coast on Hwy 1. Going to Manhattan beach for some Frisbee. Lot’s of no cost and cheap thrills. That fit into my budget as a young man. An outing to a good movie at the dollar theater with some friends will often do great. Sneak in a bag of homemade popcorn and cokes for more of an adventure. Homemade brownies anyone?
In reflection I see that I could have done many things differently that would have allowed me to be invited to more things and to be included in more of my friends plans. An example is, I wish that I would have offered to chip in on the gas when someone invited me to go with them somewhere like the time I went with Butch and Jenny to Laguna Beach for an evening campfire along the beach. There was about twelve of us packed into Butch’s old VW van and it was a great time. A bunch of people laughing, singing and telling jokes packed in like sardines in a VW bus. What if I would have offered some gas money, in fact if I would insisted that they take some gas money I’m sure that I would have been a regular at more of these outings. One thing that I thought of is that I should have made the offer when both Butch and Jenny were there to accept the money as it was Jenny who controlled what money that they spent. She was the master purse keeper and she did a great job of it. I’m sure that she would have enjoyed having a few more dollars to add to their budget. I was poor but we were all poor so a few dollars chipped in would have helped them a lot. Could I have afforded a couple of six packs of coke to add some refreshments to the party, I know that I could have. I just didn’t think of these things to do as a part of being a part of the party. Hindsight Is great but not if it comes years later when wondering why I wasn’t along for more of the adventures with these fun friends.
I got better at planning adventures with friends and this attracted more friends. It is a process of learning to have fun in life and then learning to share the fun with other people that you know.
As time went on I did learn to be a great host of parties, where I would have themed parties like an Annual Academy Awards party at my home. I invited people who I knew loved movies, in fact most of them were in the film and TV industry as I also was at that time.
I had a list of the Academy Award nominees printed up. When people arrived at my home they could get a list of nominees for a buck and they would then choose who they thought the winners would be. The dollar went into a jar and the winner got the jar of money. The first year was fifty-five dollars won. It was a bunch of fun.
For the Awards party I borrowed TV’s from anyone who had a spare to loan me for the evening. We had multiple TV’s in every room throughout the house to watch the Academy Awards on. There also was a great buffet of sliced meats, cheeses and artesian bread along with all kinds of soft drinks and waters. It was a byob party, ‘bring your own bottle’ if you are a drinker. This was a great annual party that people looked forward to. It also assured that I would later get invited to social events by those who came to my parties.
For Halloween I would organize a group of 15 close friends who would split the cost of a huge house on the shore of the lake at Big Bear. It came out to about fifty bucks a person for the four day three night rental and food for Friday through Monday staying there. Those who could go up to the cabin early on Friday would get the food put away and then decorate the place for the holiday, so that those who got there later would enter a spooky Halloween house. The meals were three planned meals, breakfast was the only group cooked meal and if you weren’t up in time you made your own. The rest of the day it was sandwich’s for lunch and supper and snack all that you want with a huge crockpot of stew going all day. We did have one guest that loved to cook and she often planned a evening meal that she would cook. It was a homemade spaghetti supper and it took her all afternoon. She was a fantastic cook. She would even bring all of the food to prepare this meal. Don’t you know she got invited every year! The people could do what ever they wanted during the day. In the evening it was all of us sitting around the fireplace telling ghost stories. Some people would be too scared to go to bed alone. Ha ha. The people staying till Monday helped to clean up the place. It was a great fun Halloween weekend event, even the clean up. The ‘cooking lady’ always stayed to help with the clean up. What a friend she was.
At Christmas there is one area of town that people love to drive through to see the displays where everyone in the neighborhood puts up a display at their home for the holiday. There were miles and miles of fantastic displays all through the neighborhood. My wife and I made this an annual Christmas event for ourselves. It was a terrific and spectacular display.
Then one year I was tired of driving in the crowds and I came up with the idea of hiring a limo to drive us and I invited a group of friends on this adventure. It was one hundred and eighty dollars for the limo and then a fifty dollar tip for the driver for three hours of driving. This made for a very special gift from me to this group of friends. I would take a different group of friends each year with some repeats.
My favorite Christmas display was where the song Grandma got run over by a Reindeer was playing and the people created the display with a long rail where Santa and His Reindeer would come down from above the roof of the garage and then run over Grandma and knock her down. This was really funny.
A side note is that a few years later about 1987 I got to meet Patsy Trigg who was the original co-performer of the song. It made a good story to tell her about how we have enjoyed this display with her song for many years. My thanks to Phyllis for the introduction to Patsy.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this story of how my skills of having fun with friends has evolved over the years. It’s all about having a good time and then inviting a few friends to join you in the special things that you enjoy doing. start looking for fun things to do and then invite a friend along on your adventure. You will be remembered for your kindness in including them.
We don’t have to wait for people to invite us to a fun event. Think up a fun event and then invite someone or many friends or soon to be friends to join you. If it’s costly they can even help share the expenses of the adventure. Play Big if you choose… You don’t have to be alone, plan a fun time and invite others to join in. People are just wishing that they would be invited to have fun. You can be the life of the party by providing the party.
Search out fun inexpensive events and share the experience. Don’t forget, if your group doesn’t have much money for doing things you can plan adventures to fit everyone’s budget. Plan to share your personal talent for the adventure. Make popcorn balls for the movies. don’t forget the handiwipes. Be different! You will be invited to many parties. The cooking lady was at many parties.
Now it’s time for you to start making an ongoing list of things to do in your area. Along with a list of people you would like to get to know better. Then you can add to the list what your can do to make each adventure special.
Where I now live the City puts out a monthly online list of things that they sponsor where people can attend at no charge or low cost. The State has a yearly guide to events in the state. The newspaper and alternate papers have lists of things to do. Enjoy life, I know that I do. In fact I live a life of happiness, joy and bliss. Create your own life of happiness, it’s a blast.
We just took an October drive through the local mountains to look at the leaves as they go into their fall colors. What a fun day trip and home by three in the afternoon. Cost thirty-five dollars in gas and we took snacks and treats from home to keep us fed on the 165 mile six hour drive. We stopped at every dang turnout on the road to take photos. I have to admit that we found a great local hangout and cowboy cafe in Jemez Springs called the Stage Coach Stop Cafe. We had a fantastic meal there and enjoyed talking with the owner Mike about his cafe and music which is his passion. Mike’s hamburgers are handcrafted with pork and beef. Yummy! The snacks became our supper when we got home. Happy trails to you and your friends.
If you are feeling like you would like to change your life please allow me to recommend an old classic ‘How
To Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie.
I wish for you a life of health, happiness and bliss, Lee
I would love for you to leave a comment. Did you get any ideas from my story? What fun adventure have you gone to or planned yourself? Share your thoughts on this subject.