Thanks to everyone for a great show Thursday! I was having a hard week that day and you guys really pulled me through. Listening to other people’s stories always lifts me up and that night was just what I needed.

Yousaf started us off by telling the story of everything he had to go through to take the GMAT multiple times because the internet kept losing his scores. Finally, after getting GMAT HQ on the phone and yelling in at least two different languages they were able to find his test in the Great Cloud and he made it into business school. He had a wonderful ending to the story where he talked about the importance of staying in the moment and “watching the water boil.” I love that phrase. I’d never heard it before but the next day I got out my old glass percolator and purposefully watched the water boil. Thanks, Yousaf.

Behnaz followed with a story about learning to make new friends and start dating after her divorce. It involved numerous Meetup brunches, a woman asking her to punch her in the face, and in the end, deciding to freeze her eggs in case it took a while to find the right man. This is what it’s like trying to date in Seattle. After a few weeks online you think, “It looks like this is going to take a while so I better freeze my eggs.” Thank you, Behnaz, for making me laugh days after the show is over.

Emily was next with a story about her younger sister nagging her to get a Roth IRA. As Emily was telling this story I remembered my dad saying the same thing to me 30 years ago when I was making $8/hour and more worried about putting gas in the car than retirement. Emily’s sister was relentless, though. Did you know there’s a difference between a savings account and an emergency fund? Did you know there are people who regularly save 15% of their income in their savings account? Who are these people?? Right now I’m worth way more dead than alive which is something my son just realized so now I can’t turn my back on him. The older I get, the more I think everyone should have a sister like Emily has. Sometimes all you need is one forward-looking, detail-oriented person in your life to make you do the thing you don’t want to do.

Deborah, one of our new regulars, showed us why it’s ok to lie to strangers who show up on your doorstep asking you out on a date. Apparently, people do this. Never feel guilty about lying to strangers who show up on your doorstep asking for something! Unless they’re selling Girl Scout cookies. And they better have Samos because I’m not shelling out good money for Thin Mints. But seriously. Don’t feel bad about lying to strangers to get out of a situation. If you want to start dating, do it the old-fashioned way. Join Meetup, go to some group brunches, take a martial arts class, and freeze your DNA. 

Vicki, a first-timer from Los Angeles, told a great story about going in for a sleep study to see if she had sleep apnea. I don’t know if she could see me cracking up but she told one of the funniest stories I’ve heard in a long time. Her impression of the sleep study nurse was perfect and I wish I could share it to show how much feeling you can squeeze into a story just by changing your voice a bit. I relistened to her story a few minutes ago and cracked up again each time she played the nurse character. So good! Thank you, Vicki, for that amazing story. I’m sad you live in LA and can’t make it to FGS when we go back onstage. If you ever come to Seattle, make sure you’re here on the third Thursday of the month. I’ll guarantee a spot on the show for you.

Gretchen closed out our show with a story I call, “Panic at 1,000 Feet.” It was the story of her first panic attack which happened on the observation deck of 94th floor of the John Hancock building in Chicago. I’m so happy when people tell stories about the times they were scared. It makes me feel better about the times I was scared. I’ve had a few panic attacks over the years and Gretchen described it perfectly. I had to laugh when she talked about her date who ran right across the floor and pressed his face against the glass like a toddler at Sea World. Meanwhile, Gretchen was back near the elevator on her hands and knees trying to crawl to safety.

Thanks again to everyone who told a story and shared something sweet in the chat room. Our next show is March 17. The theme is “The Hardest Thing – Stories of walking through the fire.” I’ll get the invite out as soon as I can. I’m crossing my fingers that March will be our last Zoom show and that we can go back to our Starbucks for the April show. I’m trying not to get too excited in case there’s another delay but I gotta admit I’m dying to see everyone again 🙂

Take care. Write me at freshgroundstories at gmail dot com if you have any questions or want some help on a story. The next workshop is Sunday, March 6. RSVP if you’d like to work on a story there. Dave is a great coach and runs a super helpful workshop:

Don’t forget about Emily’s storytelling show Locally Fameless on March 10.