Great parties like great sex depend on variety. Different styles, attitudes, even intentions: spice it up – give it that zing. Really great parties, like great sustainable romance, need surprise, along with the two other key elements of happiness: pleasure and meaning.
So if your life or your job is no party: you know what to do.
How often do you surprise the people around you? How often are you surprised?
How often do your bring them pleasure (brilliant work, letting them go home while you take the late shift, or cleaning up after the big project goes out). How often do the people around you bring you pleasure?
And meaning: what are you doing? Are you just making money? Not good enough to sustain your effort. You’ve got to make meaning; ideally you’re making it with the people you work with.
We just celebrated two birthdays with a great party on Saturday night: my boyfriend and his dad share a birth date. They are separated by 21 years and typically 3,000 miles. So Dad bridged the gap and flew into LA with Mom. And, we invited our 35 of our closest friends, who brought 15 strangers who are now friends. I dubbed it the “Meet the Parents Day” party.
Here’s what’s cool.
Guests ranged from 20 to 85 years of age. We had a mash up of personal brands. Outgoing, smart, funny, pious, ambitious, lay back, experienced, newbies, literate and kinetic.
We had dueling men of the cloth (actually 5 religions present), attorneys, business owners, professional athletes, students, receptionists, our maintenance man at work and a guy who raises exotic lizards (who knew?). Twenty countries represented if you include this generation and back one more to ancestors. There isn’t a composite that would represent “friend” in our lives: not anything that could be combined to become a persona that we could recognize as people we adore. As a marketer, that stings: we like target markets that think alike, act alike and buy alike. In the house Saturday night, the only thing we all had in common was we were glad to be together.
We laughed, ate, sang, chatted, took photos, drank a bit and some of us: a bit too much. We built a cupcake holder in the middle of dinner, filled it and then ate the contents.
Our clean-up crew didn’t show: so the partiers danced and did dishes to heavy metal music. It was like being in camp, making a show, being players and audience, being chefs and hoppers, eating and then doing KP.
Life doesn’t mean a thing, if you don’t get that zing. When was the last time you danced and did dishes? I hope really often.
Get outside your personal brand and the tribe you always hang with: so you can see how you mesh, complement, clash and makes a mess with people who are so not like you. Go out of your way to like them. Find something to enjoy in even the challenging people around you.
This is your party.
It’s life and work, friends and family, staying home and traveling, working out and eating too much. You can have it all, if you venture out. Give yourself a way to mix it up, surprise yourself and others, give and get pleasure and always seek to make and find meaning.
The birthday boys nearly forgot to open presents. That’s how great a party can be.