A few months back, I hosted a PowerPoint party. For the uninitiated, a PPT Party is where you ask your loved ones to create a slideshow on any topic of interest to them and then present it to the group. Yes, there is prework. Yes, this is a nerd’s wildest dream. There are many ways one might interpret the task—you can go funny, random, or super informative. Each is delightful in its own way.
In the days leading up to the party, I found myself seeing potential PPT topics everywhere. Among the topic ideas: language, vegan baking, and polar bears. Ultimately, I landed on THE HISTORY OF THE U.S.P.S. For the uninitiated, I’m a huge fan of letter writing and while I had a little bit of knowledge about how mail gets from place to place, the research required for my presentation was enlightening and exciting.
I had so much fun researching a topic of my choosing and diving into something that I am, in many ways, passionate about.
I was very much a “school kid.” I loved going to school, spending time in the library, absorbing as much information as I could. I lived for BrainQuest trivia on car rides to my grandparents and took every opportunity to do “optional” homework (so much so that, when I won a prize from the “Optional Homework Treasure Chest” in third grade, I picked out a small teddy bear and named him, you guessed it, Optional).
At some point, though, some self-awareness crept in. Maybe it was weird to be so interested in this subject. Maybe I was dorky for wanting to spend all my time doing this activity. I remember being a teenage girl. I remember wanting to be apathetic and tough or wanting to seem as though I was laid back and cool.
Dear reader, I am neither laidback nor cool. And apathy looks really awful on me.
After the PPT Party, my partner and I were snacking on leftover cookies and discussing the presentations. It’s actually so fun, we agreed. But it works because everyone buys in. It works when people aren’t afraid to look dorky or weird.
I’ve been thinking about that a lot since. Things work when we aren’t afraid to be ourselves and to show we care about a thing. Things work when we go all in.
Watching my friends talk about photography and video games and reality television was, simply put, incredible. How often as an adult are you given an opportunity to talk about something that means a lot to you? To share with a group of eager-to-learn peers in a non-formal, non-work, non-school setting? I loved every second.
And I loved that it reminded me how people shine their brightest when they are doing things they care about… when they are free to pursue the things that make them happy… the things that make them come alive.
This week, we invite you to lean into that thing you loved when you were younger. And maybe it wasn’t even anything specific. Maybe it was just a general love of learning that led you to unprompted research projects on Leatherback Sea Turtles. Or maybe it was crocheting or cooking or chess. Whatever it was that brought you joy… whatever it was that you could lose hours in… whatever it was that you would love to talk to a group of people about now… maybe give some time to it this weekend. I think you’ll be glad you did.