Sometimes I consider how funny it is that thousands of strangers can instantly become part of a synchronized effort at baseball games. Despite the fact that most of us avoid conversations – or even eye contact – with people we don’t know, when we’re all together in a giant stadium, we have no qualms about participating in a strange ritual together.
The way I’ve always felt about doing the wave is a little like how I feel about getting older.
I was thinking about this today when I was with some of my closest friends, celebrating the upcoming birth of one’s first baby. As we painted her nursery and cooed over tiny baby clothes, I had to take a mental step back. How on earth are we old enough for this to be happening? It’s crazy to think that I’m nearing the age my parents were when I was born.
Day by day, nothing seems to change, but then all of a sudden – bang! We’re in our thirties. Getting married. Buying houses. Having babies. Building careers.
I vividly remember all the stages and adventures that brought us to this point, but it’s hard to step back and understand how it all happened so fast. I’m not sad about this – not a bit – I love how life keeps evolving. But it’s funny to think about how these dramatic shifts can creep quietly into our lives without warning to sweep us into a new phase of life.
It’s just like doing the wave.
When you first notice it’s happening, it’s still at a distance. It’s significant enough to catch your attention but far enough away not to cause alarm. When it gets closer, there may be some anxiety. Then suddenly – it’s upon you. You become swept up in the excitement, and before you know it, it’s past you. As it continues, you become accustomed to this strange act you’re performing, and start to relax. Something that initially seemed completely foreign, quickly becomes natural as it gains momentum and repeats.
And while I admit it’s a bit of a stretch in terms of analogies, this is how I can process the fact that if you told me five years ago that right now most of my friends would be married, having kids, living all over the country, etc, I might think it sounded totally crazy. But then again, if I’d never been to a baseball game, and you explained to to me that at some random point during the game, people would spontaneously begin standing and waving their arms in sequence, without words or planning, I would think it was just as insane.