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Stepping out of the comfort zone

Posted: July 16, 2013 11:17 a.m.
Updated: July 17, 2013 5:00 a.m.

I’m not completely sure who said it, but I frequently hear the quote “life begins at the end of your comfort zone” posted anywhere from social media sites to scrawled on the covers of journals. I’ve always had issues with doing things alone. Not necessarily that I have issues being alone but more along the lines of eating at a restaurant or seeing a movie in theatres; things that I’d prefer to do with another person or a group of people. I have no qualms in shopping alone or doing other activities independently but outings such as a trip to the movies or a dinner at a restaurant I’m really craving … I’d feel more comfortable partaking in while in the company of others. Which often leads to me choosing not to eat the meal I really wanted for dinner or the movie I really wanted to see because I couldn’t find another person available to participate with me.

This, what I guess I could refer to as being a fear, was recently overcome. On a recent weeknight trip to Columbia to pick up some items that I couldn’t find in our local community, all I could think about was this particular restaurant I was dying for a burrito from and a movie out in theatres that a few of my friends had seen and said it was hilarious. I wanted that burrito and I wanted to be in on the jokes. My only problem was that I didn’t have an available companion for either of these. “What will people think?” I asked myself. “They’ll think I’m this weird person who can’t find any friends and has to eat meals alone and see movies alone.” After debating with my inner voices I made this decision: I don’t care. I highly doubt I would see any of the people I encountered during this outing ever again. And I was definitely overestimating my impact on people when out and about. Basically, I realized most people are not concerned with what is going on in the life of a fellow restaurant- or movie-goer. Just as how I rarely am concerned, if ever, about the people around me when out and about.

Eating alone and seeing movies alone is actually very liberating, I learned. I had a nice, peaceful and surprisingly enjoyable date with myself. Not once did I have to worry about sharing my popcorn or candy or worry about conversation. I was simply able to concentrate on my burrito and the movie’s punch lines rather than another person. It was also a nice feeling to realize I was doing something that I used to fear and be uneasy about. Freeing, if you will. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still rather eat out or see a movie with a companion, but I did learn that sometimes it’s nice to get out of your comfort zone and those in it and have a night out on the town with you, yourself and well … you. That way you get to put as much butter and salt on the popcorn and no one will lecture you on how bad it is for your heart.

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