I attended a Bridal Shower on Saturday, and a Super Bowl party on Sunday, so last weekend was especially social and enjoyable.

The shower felt almost like a high school reunion. Well, more like a twist on a high school reunion. The bride-to-be is the daughter of a dear friend of mine, someone I met when my family first moved to Chanhassen almost thirteen years ago. We met through volunteer work at the middle school and the high school in which our kids were enrolled, and got to know each other first by working together on committees and fundraisers, and then as friends with outside interests other than our kids and their schools.

Many of the women at the shower were moms I knew mainly through our children – children who are now grown and gone and getting married and starting families of their own. It was wonderful to see everyone again, to catch up on each other’s lives and kids and activities, and to marvel collectively at the beautiful, glowing and gracious young woman whom many of us remembered as the child she was when we first met her.

The Super Bowl party was a different type of crowd, of course. Many of the guests were people I knew from the sports bar where my husband and I watch a lot of the games during football season. Throughout the winter, the place is a sea of Green Bay green and Vikings purple, with small islands of color from people loyal to other teams, including my husband and me in our Chicago Bears sweatshirts.

At the party we attended, no one’s home team was represented in the big game, but that didn’t matter and it didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm. And although the couple hosting the party are now avid Vikings fans, he is originally from New York, while she grew up in New England. This wasn’t an issue or a point of contention during the game, but it added an interesting touch to the party. And, as most people do on Super Bowl Sunday, we also gave plenty of attention to the commercials and the food – not necessarily in that order.

I have to laugh when I think about being at two such totally different types of event, with different people, different purposes, different settings, different foods and activities, different points of reference, different noise levels, and different – well, pretty much everything. And yet I enjoyed both of them immensely. It suddenly made me think about times when I’ve taken surveys or filled out questionnaires designed to determine my interests, attitudes and aptitudes. I love that kind of self-exploration, but I hate having to answer questions like “Which would you enjoy more, a night out on the town with friends, or curling up with a good book?” Or “Are you more likely to be found at an art gallery opening or a sports arena? At a theatre, or the grocery store?”
There are times when I love being out with friends, and other times when nothing sounds more appealing than hearth and home. And the places I’m likely to be found can vary from day to day, or from morning to night. I don’t like having to choose one over another, and I don’t like the implication that because I enjoy one, I can’t enjoy the others.

The sad thing is that this attitude doesn’t seem to be limited to personality profiles and aptitude tests. Political parties, religious beliefs, parenting styles, entertainment choices. Many of these assume – or insist – that an all-or-nothing choice is required. And that your decision defines everything about you, without leaving room for any other options. But real life doesn’t work that way. Or at least, it shouldn’t.

So I’ll continue to attend both bridal showers and Super Bowl parties. To have days filled with non-stop activity as well as lazy days when I don’t seem to accomplish anything. And mornings when I’m racing from the post office to the bank to the grocery store, followed by afternoons when I’m out exploring the world. There’ll be times when I’m holed up in front of my computer, and times when I’m out having dinner with friends.

The activities and events may change from day to day, and moment to moment. But one thing will stay the same: I plan on enjoying them all.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on February 9, 2012.
© Betty Liedtke, 2012