Some people attended the royal wedding last Saturday. Other people attended my book launch party for Changing My Mind: Reinventing Myself In Retirement. Maybe I’m biased, but I think we had a better time at my event. I certainly did.
Giving a party is not something that comes easily to me. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever given one before now. My natural shyness has always made it challenging for me to attend a party, much less give one. The idea of being responsible for entertaining people actually made me a little nauseous in the weeks before the party, if you want to know the truth. Publishing the book is one of the most exciting things to ever happen to me. I am very proud of my pretty little book. If ever I was going to host a party to celebrate an achievement, this would probably be the time. Still, deciding to actually do something about it was unreasonably terrifying. I vacillated about having a party for weeks.
In the end, it was my resolve to be more open to new experiences that motivated me to entertain the idea of a launch party. It was the help and support of my friends that actually made it happen. Left to my own devices, I am positive I would have talked myself out of it.
Two of my friends immediately jumped on the bandwagon when I broached the possibility of a launch party. Not only were they wildly excited about the idea, they immediately offered all kinds of help. Their contributions were way more than I dreamed of requesting. I was just hoping it wouldn’t be too much of an imposition to ask them to be my social safety net. One of my friends, in particular, is wonderful at making people feel comfortable. I can’t explain how she does it because it is a completely foreign skill to me. I only know that she is warm and welcoming and accepting. People just feel good around her. I asked her to be on the lookout for awkwardness or tension and just “fix it” during the party.
Not only did I get my safety net, my friends contributed most of the food and wine for the party. They helped me plan. They asked me good questions about what I wanted so that we could brainstorm ways to address aspects of the party I might not have considered on my own. They loaned me extra chairs, an ice chest, and other entertainment accoutrements. One friend created a beautiful art piece from a photo of my book cover. She had it matted so that guests at the party could contribute their own messages around the picture. Maybe most importantly, my friends kept the momentum of excitement flowing as we approached the countdown to Party Day. That momentum of excitement washed away any vestiges of dread my panic dredged up.
Other friends also fueled the Party Train. Something else I am not good at is self-promotion. Inviting people to the launch party felt a little like pressuring your friends to attend your Tupperware party…. and you are the one who invented Tupperware. I felt like I was putting people in an impossibly awkward position by asking them to come to the launch party or even suggesting they might want to buy the book. It was kind of excruciating. I tried to overcome my antipathy, in the spirit of embracing new experiences. I tried to allow myself to accept that I wasn’t imposing on the kindness of strangers and that people actually wanted to celebrate my book. My friends certainly gave every indication that this was the case. I’m still somewhat befuddled by the reaction. I mean, I am excited beyond all reason about the book, but that doesn’t mean everyone else should be. Just experiencing my friends’ pleasure about my book helped me commit to turning my house into Party Central.
Everything ended up being wonderful at the party. I’d put the food, drink, and companionship of my party up against the royal wedding any day of the week! We had a room of folks on site at my house. Some long-time, deep-hearted friends of mine from California came to Florida for the party. Friends from our community and friends from my church blended. My brother and his wife, my cousin-brother and his family, and a work life friend joined by conference call. We had an icebreaker that helped everyone get to know a little bit about each other. We joked and laughed and appreciated each other. I read from the book and took questions from the crowd. My family and friends said wonderful, generous, kind things. We had drawings for fabulous prizes. During the toast, I thanked the people who have made this experience, culminating in the party, possible. That is, I tried to thank them. I am embarrassed to admit that, even though this whole event was to celebrate my accomplishment as a wordsmith, I could not find words beautiful enough to thank people for their love.
It was the most joyous celebration I’ve ever attended- not just a celebration of my book, but a celebration of friendship. I think we had the royal wedding beat in that arena, as well. No offense to the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex and not to malign their guests or anything, but I am certain that I have the bestest friends!
For those of you who did not attend, we missed you. Fear not, though. You can keep the party going. You can leave a comment to add your greetings to those of the party-heartiers. Also, you can order a copy of my book, Changing My Mind: Reinventing Myself In Retirement. You can get the book in paperback, kindle, or nook editions. If you go to my direct-to-reader sales page (https://secure.mybookorders.com/Orderpage/2076 ), you can order your copy. If you order a paperback copy, you can use the promo code terri to get a 15% discount. You can also order the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online retail book outlets. The promo code applies only to orders on the direct-to-reader sales page, however.
Thank you to all who attended my party. Please know that you helped create something wonderful. I feel spectacularly special and abundantly blessed.
Do you want to join in the fun? Let’s keep the celebration going! Please leave a comment to add your message about the publication of Changing My Mind: Reinventing Myself In Retirement. I’d love to hear from all of you!
Have a creative day!