As the weather gets colder I can almost literally feel the Seattle Freeze. My first few days in Seattle, I told my mother how open and friendly the people were. Every store I went to the clerk was excited to hear how I ended up in Seattle from Nebraska. I even had the guy at the makeup counter in Nordstroms give me his personal card and told me to call anytime I wanted to go out. I met a lot of people when I snuck in to the PAX convention and a couple even left me messages wanting to hang out.
Coming from Nebraska I found the attitudes of the people here in Seattle very accommodating. I found the “Freeze” coming from me. I never called the Nordstroms makeup guy, and I never called back the folks from PAX. Why? Because deep down I think I’m afraid. It’s why I don’t go on blind dates. I don’t know these people, what if they’re just trying to mug me or something? Now I know that it seems silly of me to think that, but realize I moved from Nebraska where we consider Lincoln to be a big city. The amount of people in this city and the reports on the news can be a bit overwhelming for a small town girl.
I’ve definitely grown since moving here. The scared little girl of the first few weeks is growing up. I’ve gone to a few Trivia Nights with a whole group of people I’ve never met and had a great time. I joined a book club, a worship band, a church, and a jazz band.
I think the idea of the Seattle Freeze is just that, an idea. Like the movie Inception taught me, ideas can start small and then grow into something that one no longer notices, but looks for and is consumed by. I am the master of my own feelings and if I choose to be affected by every icy encounter with random strangers, then I forget about the warm goodness of the girl who turned in my phone when I left it in the bathroom at Whole Foods, or my waiter, Zach, at Blue C Sushi who always stops by my table just to chat about drinks and cool places to go.
As Student Affairs professionals, I think it’s easy for us to sometimes get bogged down by all of the challenging news we hear. Budget cuts, layoffs, protests, court cases…the list goes on and on. Some days, like today, I just need to take a step back and remember what brought me to this place in the beginning? My love and passion for working with students. Today, I had an hour long chat in my office about 1990’s television with one of my RA’s. Now, it may seem like a silly thing to talk about, but I considered it a victory because I finally found the topic that got this RA to open up and say more than two words in our weekly meetings.
So here’s my challenge: Take time today to remember why you’re here. Look back on today and celebrate yourself for a little victory. I already feel warmer.