Last night I stopped by West Seattle Toastmasters to see if Toastmasters was as fun as I remembered.
Back when I was at MassMutual (Springfield, MA), I very much enjoyed the company-sponsored club. I don't know why I didn't seek out another group when I moved to Seattle, but I was pretty busy with other stuff.
A few weeks ago, Adela (the barre instructor at the Y on Saturday) was talking about it to someone else at it struck me: I could do that again. It was fun. It is a change. Why not?
Well, the meeting sold me totally. The most important thing for me is that it was 90+ minutes of unrelenting positivity and mutual self-support. It was also very organized; we didn't waste a minute on bullshit. The speaking skills are useful. The evaluation skills are even more useful; the practice of observing a speech and coming up with useful and helpful coaching is something I want to develop.
Finally - I just love the stories. Each speech was a little slice of life enriching me. I would go there if it was just a bunch of people sitting around a fire telling 3 minute tales because I love stories.
Obviously, I'm going back.
I've been thinking that most of my environments and human contacts have had a negative shade. People ask me for help and I chip in and usually they're suitably grateful but the capacity to payback generally falls short. As a result I am mostly surrounded by people who draw from my bucket, as the saying goes, without putting back in. DAV in particular has been a sinkhole of effort with like to show for it but aggravation.
I have little cause to complain; I made these choices. And it's not totally negative: I love my house, the Y, my housemates and my cats. But I need to engage in some self-care and part of that is seeking out people and environments that refresh me. On the evidence, Toastmasters is one of them.