Uncomfortable weirdness

I spent the early part of this last weekend in Austin in the middle of the South by Southwest festival. For those of you who have not had the, shall we say ‘experience’ of visiting Austin during this magical time of year, I strongly recommend it. Although I wasn’t there specifically to celebrate SXSW, it’s virtually impossible not to get caught up in the massive crowds, the loud music and the crazy displays.

Being the crotchety old man that I am, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I set out with some friends to Guadalupe on Friday night, but I can honestly say that even though I didn’t care for the weird music, the weird people and the weird smells (use your imagination) I still had a great time. This nice little de-stressing experiment was most welcome and speaks to me about the importance of stepping into situations that you might not expect yourself to enjoy.

I’ve been making an effort of late to, as my friends would say, “loosen up.” I’ve been doing what I can to be a little more spontaneous and to have a little more fun. Aside from a greater strain on my wallet, it’s been working out rather well. I could’ve just gone to Austin and sat in my hotel room working the whole time, but instead I decided to act my real age, ignore the fact that I had to be up at 7 a.m. the next morning and go out with a few friends. Of course, it was worth it.

Even though I was initially uncomfortable with the idea of going out (knowing full well that there would be many a weird hippie along the way) I went ahead with it and it paid off. I was willing to place myself in a situation that I knew I may not enjoy. In this case, it turned out that I did enjoy it, but I enjoyed it not because of the absence of things that I thought might weird me out, but rather just accepting that they’re there and either ignoring them or just laughing them off.

I think that when it comes to moments in life where there really isn’t any other purpose than just to chill out, it’s important to remember that even though we might try to avoid new and uncomfortable situations, it’s really all about maintaining the attitude of relaxation no matter where you are.

A year ago I would’ve told you that you were crazy if you tried to convince me that I would like hanging around in Austin. I have a different attitude this time around. Rather than burden myself with the uncomfortable weirdness that is Austin, I just laugh, shrug and move on, appreciative of the people around me who were doing the same. And now I can’t wait to go back.

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