By MARY BETH MAASSEN
I am so disappointed I will not be able to attend the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Their wedding date is Saturday, May 19, and that is the only weekend this entire year where I have an unbreakable commitment. So, sadly, I can’t be there.
Of course, my absence does not matter to the bride and groom, since I am not on the invitation list. My royal wedding plan was to join the collective throng of commoners in the street, wait patiently and happily for the bride and groom to pass by, and eventually, as the royal couple approach in their motorcade, or horse and carriage-cade, or however they do it, (this is the most exciting part) enthusiastically (but fruitlessly) wave in their direction. Yep, that was my entire plan.
I do love a good wedding, but mostly I want to be surrounded by thousands of joyful human bodies, a massive crowd of people who are all happy for the same reason, and I was willing to travel to the U.K. to make that happen.
Here in the U.S., there are plenty of crowds to join. Though there might be moments of levity, most of the gatherings are in response to something dastardly and reprehensible, and when you are with the crowd, feelings of unity and solidarity are momentarily uplifting, and then they are replaced with a mission to accomplish. It is simultaneously empowering and overwhelming, and a little crazy feeling.
Since occasions to be surrounded by good people doing good work, feels too far and few between, I recently doubled my efforts. Here are a few local places I go to get a good, positive, people fix.
- The Family YMCA. Great people doing great things, and they are pretty darn cheerful about it too. You can volunteer and you can get some exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and reduces stress, and the whole world will seem a brighter place…you just need to keep moving. The annual Red and Black Ball is rapidly approaching. It is a fabulous and fun way to party for a purpose. www.laymca.org.
- The Rotary Club of Los Alamos. Rotary meets Tuesdays at noon at the Los Alamos Golf Course. Globally, Rotary works to eradicate polio, develop safe water sources, provide hygiene education, and deliver crisis response. Locally, Rotary supports a variety of charitable efforts and many educational programs. I am a Rotarian because I think it is a great way to act locally and impact globally. Interested in joining? Let me know firstname.lastname@example.org. www.losalamosrotary.com.
- The Los Alamos Chamber and the MainStreet Program. If you want to really have a ton of fun and do good work at the same time, these are the gals you need to know. These are the folks that bring you Trick or Treat on MainStreet, WinterFest, Sciencefest, and a plethora of other activities. Contact them, they know how to have a good time and do good work. www.losalamoschamber.com.
I know these options are not quite as exciting as the royal wedding, but the upshot is that the folks listed above will acknowledge and appreciate you. You will be surrounded by people that want to see you be successful and share your success. It is certainly better, and more sustainable, than my plan of manically waving my arms in a crowd of strangers hoping to generate a little goodness.