Photo: Thinkstock/Thomas Northcut
Our social lives don't have an expiration date; the craving for human contact is infinite. Socializing is more than covering the big calendar events like weddings, anniversaries and birthdays. It's about offering support and understanding in the good times, as well as the tough ones. Take a minute to recall what life was like before responsibilities ruled the day. In other words, remember having fun? Think light-hearted playdates that don't require exhaustive planning, fancy china or painful footwear!
Whether it's family, friends or interesting new characters you want to get to know, tune in to new circles and fresh rituals. And try being spontaneous! Search out atypical activities, like mediating together; that's the hot new coffee date. Why not give it a whirl? Once your mind is clear, fill it with pure intentions like, "I create a joyful world in which to live."
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Invent a Brand New Holiday
Why not create a National Girlfriends' Getaway Day? First, define what getaway means to you. Make sure it's a mental escape, not just a trip down the street for a mani/pedi, cutting straight to happy hour or pool crashing.
Did you know you can actually book a day room at many three- to five-star hotels? Check in first thing in the morning and clear out by the end of the day, and get access to all the leisure facilities. Sip umbrella cocktails by the pool, read trashy books and magazines and be super girlie—trade hair and makeup tips, and play truth or dare.
Photo: Thinkstock/Brand X Pictures
Take a Virtual Vacation
Spin the globe and pick a spot at random, then Google Earth it and take a virtual vacation. Did you land in virtual Italy? An Italian afternoon it is. Sip Bellinis (peach juice and sparkling wine) and make an Italian spread
of antipasti and pizza. I love Mario Batali
's recipes and am digging the pizza stones for the grill (perfect for those who aren't happy cooking unless the coals are glowing under a grill). Go out for a walk in search of a scoop of gelato and an espresso in the early evening, then screen famous Italian or Italy-centric movies. If Fellini's not your fancy, then how about classics like Roman Holiday
or Cinema Paradiso
, the Sophia Loren DVD collection or the six-hour, six-hankie Italian television extravaganza Best of Youth
? Oh, sigh
. And don't forget to say ciao
Photo: Thinkstock/Steve Mason
Get physical, and not just because bathing suit season is coming! Do it because it's good for the soul—yours and everyone else's. Releasing endorphins is the number one way to say bye-bye to that edgy attitude that's been shadowing you all week. Set the happy hormones free with some outside playtime together.
Go for a round of Frisbee golf, start a game of badminton, grab the dogs and go for a hike, try rowing if you have a river in your community, toss the basketball around (even if it's a quick game of H-O-R-S-E) or cruise the neighborhood on your bike delivering garden goodies to your neighbors.
Photo: Thinkstock/Jack Hollingsworth
Feed Your Fun
While you're at it, keep the silly factor in play by making up nicknames for each other, singing songs and stopping for impromptu rounds of Pickle. Playing hard requires sustenance, but try to keep the menu playful too. Go for interactive fare like shabu-shabu, the Japanese style of cooking your own meal at the table, or a kid favorite like a '70s-style taco bar. Dream up nibbles that are matchy-matchy with your activity. Nature hike equals a healthy picnic (replace the processed stuff with a spread of homemade healthy treats from your organic produce section). Rowing? Dig into some fish and chips. Badminton is believed to have started in ancient Greece, so pick up some spanakopita and baklava while you're out and about and whip up a crunchy Greek salad.
Photo: Thinkstock/John Rowley
Explore a Funky New Hobby
For me, it was magic tricks. My friend and I took it up hoping to perform for kids in the hospital, and it was incredibly fun. We took classes at the Magic Castle, a private club of magicians in Hollywood. After graduation, my lovely assistant and I performed for the kids in the cancer ward. To this day, we volunteer our time to plan the hospital's special events, including their annual holiday party.
The art of prestidigitation (sleight of hand!) may not be your thing, but for every inner magician struggling with a deck of cards, there are twice as many standup comics laughing on the inside. Open-mic comedy nights are the new karaoke. Make a pact with your pallies to stalk local clubs and restaurants embracing the trend until you get up the nerve to survive your five minutes. Colleges even offer courses on stand-up comedy now, so start there if you want to test your chops in a low-key environment.
It's not all performance art, you can play with fine art too. Try drawing classes together, and if you're both feeling spicy, make it romantic by inviting your honey to pose for you at home! Acknowledging a secret passion feels playful even when the subject sounds dull. History buff? Ramp up your museum visits with a friend who's also a history fiend, and make it standing date to see a new exhibition each month. Still stuck? Keep it simple and heighten an existing playdate, like a knitting klatch. In between slip stitches, sample new music like a DJ protege or shake cocktails like a mixologist in training.
Become a Know-It-All
Lastly, become an expert—even if it's a chocolate expert! That's right: Seek out exciting new tastes together, infused with relaxing lemon balm, made with chili, rosemary and lavender—some cities even have chocolate tours. This is not permission to indulge a sweet tooth, people, it's all about exploring something you love with someone you love or even like
-like!Download free chapters of Allana's book, Get Social now!