I was warned by @ade, who had been before, about how the week following Do would feel. He said it would feel odd, even though what you are coming back to is of course whatever normality is to each of us. He was right, it does feel odd - in a really good way.
Life is complicated, days fly by at an alarming rate but, in our raincoats and wellies with our bad hair and dubious washing habits in a muddy field at Do, we stopped for a while to share some of what makes up our individual stories.
We shared what point we have reached in our story, shared what we hoped it might be in the future, shared regrets about what our stories might be missing. Doing this didn’t always feel fun, easy or comfortable even, but there’s no denying that it is good. As one of the creators of Do, David Hieatt, said in the closing discussion, it reminds you that people are brilliant. We marvelled at each others successes and shared and understood how painful the failures along the way must have been. We acknowledged that life is not a straight road for anyone.
Perspective is restored by this sharing - a respect gained and faith restored in the kindness of strangers. A few of us shared the fact we were nervous about coming by ourselves, who would we talk to? Why on earth was this a good idea again?! - But Do is a good idea. The uncomfortable process of completely removing yourself from your normal life and your comfortable sofa and addictive HBO series is exactly what makes Do a good idea. It’s not all fun but it’s a shared experience nonetheless, you start to realise, we are all thinking the same things here. When your ability to connect with others is tested by leaving yourself vulnerable in this way you realise how similar all these strangers are, sure - you connect with some more than others - that’s only natural - and that’s ok. You can still share laughter, disbelief, hope and dance for hours together just because it feels good. As it turned out I met a couple of people who make me smile all the time - even since getting home.
The awesome lectures provide the framework and context to this experience, they were no less than inspiring. I’m as cynical as the next Briton (some may say a little more) but you cannot deny how positive and individually successful these people were. Successful in the sense that most of them had started to live their dreams. They opened up about what they were passionate about and that positivity is highly infectious. They had the balls to say my opinion matters, what I do matters, and the same goes for everybody else. Why not get over yourself and share it? The speakers illustrated that the good that can come of it can be on a massive and humbling scale.
Personally - I have no idea what the future holds for me at the moment, I have no clue how it’s going to look. But you know what, maybe that’s ok. We like to portray strength, look nice, stay in control and of course there are times we have to do all those things but maybe the strongest thing of all is to, as one speaker put it, ‘look your bullshit in the face’ and accept it as part of your story and maybe, just maybe, everything will be ok.