Eight. Shots. Later.

I have a rule about shots. I don’t do them. Ever.

I am not a big drinker. In college? Yes. Yes indeed (we’ll go ahead and leave it at that). As a 37 year-old? Not so much. My husband doesn’t drink, and thus I rarely drink at home unless we’re hosting friends for dinner. From time to time I enjoy a glass of wine while watching Real Housewives (the combo is just too good), of course I cherish my dinners out with girlfriends during which we share bottles of wine, or the wine nights I attend a few times per year, but for the most part I just don’t drink very often.

In college I did shots. Like…lots of them. As I grew older it became blatantly clear that they were not, under any circumstances, my friend. Finally, in my mid- to late-20s, I made the executive decision to avoid them at all costs. They’ve often been offered and I refuse every time. A couple of years ago, my husband and I were out with his colleagues, and one of them insisted I have a shot with them. I said no. Bleck. After which he thickly laid on the peer pressure until, against my better judgement, I relented. The entire way home as the car felt like it was spinning I told my husband over and over how very sad I was to have taken a shot. It was proof that my rule about taking no shots ever is a sound and logical one.

This past weekend I traveled to South Dakota with a couple of girlfriends. It’s an accidental weekend trip that always ends up simply working despite it being planned very last minute. My girlfriend Ess grew up there and each summer I’ve been able to tag along on one of her trips home.

This year, it was needed. Last week was…odd. Out of the blue I was invited to breakfast and asked (i.e. strongly encouraged) to apply for a position with a past employer. It was not what I was expecting. The breakfast meeting was bizarre and I left a little bewildered. Why on earth would this be offered now?! I’m not looking for a job, nor do I have any plans to look for a job, why now? Why this? As I thought about it that day, and the subsequent days, it became very clear to me that it felt wrong. As I mentioned on Friday, I am in a place right now in which I can hear my intuition and feel my gut instinct better than I have in a very long time. By the end of last week I could say definitively that I was not interested in this opportunity. At. All.

Friday rolled around and we made our way to South Dakota. We had plans to go out Friday night and I was so excited. You know how, on those evenings out when you don’t have specific plans for it to be anything special, its chances of being so increase exponentially? Yes…well…we enjoyed a lovely dinner, then headed to the first on our list of bars to hop, and almost immediately the bartender bought us shots. I declined. No thank you. We’d had wine at dinner but we were all still sober…i.e. making sound decisions…so this was an easy thing for me to turn down. My girlfriends convinced me that one wouldn’t kill me. I knew they were right, and I reluctantly joined them. It was my second shot in maybe six years. Soon enough, said bartender quickly mixed up another. Ess had a theory. If we only had shots for the rest of the night and didn’t have anything else, aside from lots of water, it might be just fine. I was on a mini-vacation, with girlfriends, and we had rides lined up for the remainder of the evening. As they say…

…when in South Dakota (they say that…right?)…

I’m telling you. Five 35-38 year olds, all with husbands (and rings to prove it) but one, and not one of us had been offered so many shots in our lives. Not when we were younger, single, and with less wrinkles. Not when we were teensier. Not ever. Scooby Snacks, Kamikazes, Lemon Drops, Tootsie Rolls, some horrible milk and cinnamon thing, and on and on. We left that bar (thanks to the lovely husband of Ess’ sister who still lives in SD) and went to the next. Where, shockingly, we were bought more shots. What the what?! After that shot, we went to the next bar (thank goodness for small town downtowns…nearly everything is within walking distance). At the next bar some very noisy man bought us some more. Then a friend of Ess’ sister bought us another. It’s as if one bar called the next and gave them a heads up that five happily married girls in their mid- to late-30s who drank shots were on their way. By the time we made it to our final destination, the one bar that plays GREAT dance music, we had been offered more than a dozen shots. All of us having declined several, we likely each had at least eight.

EIGHT. SHOTS.

I drank water all night to be sure I wouldn’t be in terrible shape the next morning. I’m 37…I’m not really willing to wake-up hungover. Plus…we had serious plans to float on a lake the next day. We danced the night away, took a cab home at 2am, and fell into bed. When I awoke early Saturday morning, I was wary. I carefully rolled my head back and forth on my pillow, sat up and drank some water, and I waited for the expected headache to settle in. I waited. And waited. And nothing. I felt…amazing. As the other girls woke up, they too admitted they felt great. What in the world?!

We went out for breakfast, shopped a little, took a nap, floated on the lake (side note: I’ve discovered that I now get carsick on floaties too…it’s not just for the riding lawn mower anymore…fabulous,eh?), went out to dinner, and enjoyed a chick flick. It was lovely.

Yesterday on the ride home we shared a girlfriend therapy session. We’re able to share stories about our kids, husbands, jobs, and offer great feedback. I talked about the job that was nearly set in my lap, and laughed about the timing, expressing out loud how weird it all was. And then my mind started racing.

Holy sh-t.

Dots started connecting, conversations of which I’d been a part over the past couple of weeks leapt out at me, my intuition kicked into high gear, and I knew clarity and something big were just around the corner.

I told you last week that I’ve been allowing myself to just be. This past weekend, as I let go of old rules and went with the flow, I was able to enjoy myself in a way I haven’t in ages. I was able to relax and reflect…away from the places and people that make-up my internal and actual “home.” With some of the people who know me best. I was able to be myself. And suddenly…there is something brewing in my soul that I’m almost afraid to talk about out loud. Something that was sparked, in part, by taking eight shots on a Friday night in South Dakota townie bars. Who knew?!

TODAY: What if inspiration shows up when least expected and when I let my guard down? What if rules, even those that are sound and logical, are in fact made to be broken every once in a great while? And what if, when you’re not looking or over analyzing, the dots connect themselves right in front of your very eyes.


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