Last week I attended the first of 8 sessions of an Intro to Improv class. I signed up, wanting to do something I’m not great at. The day after the first class I realized that the intention has nothing to do with the actual improv work, but being in a class with people who, on the surface, aren’t like me.
There are 9 men and 4 other women, all under the age of 35, most under 30. I’m 57. The women are skinny, energetic and single. The men, well, for one of the exercises, someone suggested the phrase “morning wood” and I had to ask for a translation. One 23 year old guy doesn’t like old movies – anything before 1995. And I wondered, how can I possibly relate and find ways to connect to these people through the work.
If this were in a sit-down, book learning class, it might not matter, but this is a class about trusting your stage partners, vamping off of each other’s ideas, forming bonds and becoming friends with your fellow players.
And on that first night all I could see was how different I am from them.
Fortunately, friends encouraged me to focus on how we might be similar.
And the more I thought about the night’s experience, the more I saw places where I DID connect. In one of the group exercises, I absolutely loved that there were other people to carry the ball, to throw in ideas, to support me on the stage. And this is what I crave most. Belonging to something bigger than myself. Having fun. And laughing. And finding new ways to connect with my body.
And so, despite the fact that it would be easier to drop the class, I am going back again this week to challenge my preconceived ideas about young people, to stay open to our differences and find the places where we are human together.
And to open myself up to having some good old fun!
What have you done lately that has challenged your comfort, your beliefs, your core? Please share in the Comments below.