Monday, February 8, 2010

Introversion and Institute

I'm usually lumped with 'the YSA crowd.'
Maybe it's because — technically — I'm young, single and an adult (hence, a Young Single Adult). But I don't feel like most of my peers.
For starters, my colleagues are usually college students. All of the guys I know, and many of the girls, still have at least one or two years left before reaching a BA or BS degree. I don't.
Worse yet, I'm incredibly introverted. I've lived in Las Vegas since September, and I don't know many people. I guess "I tend to keep to myself" is an understatement.

I'm not sure how I got so far through school. I served a mission at 19, as most Mormon guys do; I didn't start college until I had graduated from high school; I took my time through school, despite taking classes every semester (two majors makes that happen). But I finished in five academic years, and decided it was time to be done.
That was six months ago. Now, I'm a 24-year-old YSA Male living in Las Vegas ... and I don't know what to do with my life. My internship at the Review-Journal is going well, but it's just that: an internship. So I don't know where I'll be this summer, and it scares me.
But there's one place with which I'm starting to fall in love, and I feel like I belong, even if I'm not the most social kid on the block: Institute.

I started taking classes at the local UNLV Institute building, just one on Tuesday/Thursday, as a way to pass the time, meet some kids my age and start studying the scriptures a little more (plus, the free pool table in the rec room makes me feel like a bonafide pool shark). And I'm loving it.
I may not fit in with these kids; after all, they're still college students, and I'm not. But it's a social outlet. And it gets me out of the house.
But the CES sponsors these things called "Institute Dances:" a weekend party-like atmosphere where young Latter-day Saints, get together to dance, chat, and try to hook up (hey, if you're not going to admit it, then I will). Not to mention, where else can you find a bunch of mid-20's rocking out to Miley Cyrus? (I know; we Mormons ARE a weird bunch).

I started out the evening as a wall flower. I didn't know many of the songs, and even fewer of the "popular crowd" on the dance floor, so I just observed. Then, I found a 'few fine honeys' that caught my eye. But I felt my chances with them were about as good as the Saints' chances at beating the Colts and hoisting up the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Then I thought it through. And a lot of my thoughts can be summed up pretty well here. I realized that even underdogs have their day. So I got a little more active, pretended to dance a little, and even had some semblance of a conversation with one of these girls that was "out of my league."
I don't know what these experiences will bring. But I put myself out there, and even stretched myself more than I thought possible this weekend. Most importantly, I listened to the Lord, did what I felt inspired to do, and let him take care of the rest, even when I felt incredibly awkward and embarrassed.

It's the simple pleasure in life, like going to Institute, napping on the couch with your children, or seeing the temple as you walk out of church every week that often make us the happiest. The Lord knows that, and makes the Gospel simple so we can see that; too bad we mortals keep muddling it up.

In honor of this post, I think the only true video I can post this week is this one.

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