Having read that adult coloring can be fun and relaxing, I was curious about a free program posted in my library’s newsletter entitled, “Chocolate and Coloring” on Valentine’s Day. I used to relish sketching and coloring. I also thought it was time I got to know more people in my neighborhood. I have distant friends, dinner friends and work friends but have fallen short on local friends with common interests.
Not typically much of a joiner in community activities, especially on my own, I hesitated. I waited until two hours before the event to register even though I had it penciled in my calendar for weeks. The librarian put me on hold while she checked if there was still room for me. Really? Were they expecting a big crowd of people who like coloring? On Valentine’s Day? She did take my registration, which was good because only then did I feel committed, propelled to take advantage of the opportunity.
When I arrived, I quietly asked the librarian for directions, a little embarrassed and shy. It felt weird asking where I could find the coloring room. I was directed to a big room with long tables and plenty of chairs. On a table in the front, sat a stack of drawings from a nature coloring book along with an abundance of colored pencils. A table in the back was set up with chocolate cake, strawberries and other goodies. The room was filled with friendly faces and the smell of chocolate. I was welcomed, offered a raffle ticket, and asked to help myself to drawings and pencils. After collecting my supplies, I naturally gravitated toward an empty table; a typical introvert move. A woman immediately invited me to join her at her table, which I did. She was very nice, and soon others joined the table as we introduced ourselves all around.
Not only was it fun and relaxing, I delighted in getting to know new people. Unlike cocktail parties, which entails forced social dialogue where you feel compelled to be witty and entertaining, quiet moments were not awkward because we were busy coloring. I also picked up news about other local activities that interest me; painting and cooking where I’m likely to see what will now be familiar faces, alleviating reservations to go on my own.
The best news is – surprise – I won the raffle! I left with a beautiful gel pen coloring kit.
Sometimes, we feel the urge to shift in a new direction. There’s a sense that the tide is changing, the air a little cooler. Or maybe, things that were in flux have settled down a bit, leaving lingering thoughts about what’s next. But when, how and in what direction to navigate is unclear. Coloring within the lines feels safe and comfortable; clean lines and solid hues. But in the kaleidoscope of life, a wide spectrum of changing colors offers diversion, new perspectives and pleasant surprises.