Do you know that feeling when your comfort zone becomes, well, uncomfortable? I’ve always been a bit of control freak and obsessed with feeling “safe” and “secure” (whatever that means) but in the last few years, this desire to be in control all the time has deepened. To put it bluntly, I don’t do anything I don’t want to do anymore. If my friends are out doing something interesting and for whatever reason, it makes me nervous and anxious, I won’t join them. I’ll say “no” under the guise of, “Well, that doesn’t sound very fun, sorry. I’d rather just stay home…” But more often than not, I am declining the invitation because it requires me to go out of my comfort zone. It forces me to do something that might make me feel a tad out of my element, which is not acceptable! I am 26 years old and I’m just going to do me now!
Having boundaries and being able to navigate your own social life without feeling guilt is a good thing. However, it is distinctly possible to become TOO in control, to the point where you’re shutting yourself off from some potentially amazing experiences. I’m at this unfortunate place where basically if my plans are not dinner with close friends and grabbing some drinks at a dive bar afterwards, I will feel a degree of apprehension about going out. What is that? Am I a depressed soccer mom?
Putting myself out there socially and taking risks is something I’ve discussed ad nauseam and it’s actually mortifying to see that, despite my proclamations of actually leaving my apartment and letting this crazy thing called life happen to me, I’m actually still just sitting at home and burning incense before being lulled to sleep by the sounds of a 22-year-old vomiting on my stoop.
The other night, my friend and I hung out at a few places before returning to his apartment. It was 12:30am, we had already been to three bars, and we were doing that typical “on the fence” routine where we COULD go to this club where some of our friends would be and see Eve perform (!!!). But, like, I don’t know. That required going back into the city and what if there was a long line and we couldn’t get in and, oh my god, THERE’S A COVER? I DON’T THINK SO!!!
Excuses, excuses, excuses. I am so good with rationalizing my piss-poor decision making.
Then my friend told me, “If I’m being completely honest, the main reason why I don’t want to go is because places like that intimidate me.”
“Places”, by the way, means anything that’s not some dark, dank, bar with zero chicness.
That was my main reason for not wanting to go too. “So many cute people, so much dancing, so much pressure, I look like shit etc.” But I can’t believe my friend actually vocalized it. Usually we just lie to each other and say that we’re really tired!
His honesty inspired me though. As far as I was concerned, we had to go now. We didn’t have a choice. We had to leave our comfort zones and enter some gigantic warehouse with scantily-clad hot people dancing to rave music.
So we went. “OMG, I can’t believe we’re doing this. This is good for us. Really good for us!” (It’s pathetic how, at 26 years of age, going to an actual nightclub on a Friday is seen as a daring move. Ugh.)
When we got to the club, a bouncer frisked me looking for drugs, going so far as to reach inside my pants and fondle my penis. Then we went inside and saw a bunch of hot people who were busy being hotter than me. It was a shock to my system at first. I hadn’t been to a club in such a long time and the stimulus was almost too intense. But then I got over it and danced and ran into approximately 6,000 people I knew. I sat outside in the freezing cold and watched my friends smoke cigarettes. I watched Eve sing her fun rap songs and talk vaguely about a new record that was coming out. (LOL, okay, honey.) All in all, it was an amazing night. It affirmed that I needed to start doing more things like this: scary things, young people things. I looked around and saw so many people that go out like this all the time without feeling any anxiety whatsoever and I felt jealous. Basically, what it comes down to is that I think I’m just bad at being young.
My worst fear is being older and looking back at my twenties with a sting of regret because I was too locked inside of myself, was too scared of everything and anything. I’ve created this cozy little nook for myself but it’s become too alienating. I know everybody should go out of their comfort zone because that’s when amazing things usually happen.
And you know what? I need amazing things to happen. I need all the amazing things. Lately, I’ve been so focused on work and The Future that I’ve completely neglected my present day life in the process. Hopefully the next time (AKA tonight) when something fun pops up, I won’t indulge my gut instinct and I’ll actually say yes to it. Everybody deserves to have the most fun and exciting experiences. They just have to let it happen to them.