We all have it. Our very own comfort zone. Some have larger, more daring zones, and others - like me - have tiny little spaces that we feel secure. I have a very hard time stepping out of my comfort zone. This zone includes the spaces inhabited by my husband, my children, my sister, and my mom. Put me anywhere else and I have some sort of anxiety over it. It may just be a tiny bit of anxiety, but it's still there.
However, plop me down in the middle of a house with a bunch of girls I don't know? Major anxiety.
I see others step out and join groups and go to church and make friends...all things that I feel like I can't possibly do. What if I don't know what to say? What if I do something wrong? What if everyone stares at me?
I recently realized that an old friend of mine from college lives in my area. She was one of my sorority sisters and we were always friends but haven't really spent much time together since leaving school. We have friends in common, so we'll bump into one another now and again, but it has definitely been over 2 years since I've spoken to her. We reconnected on Facebook and she asked me to come to a book club. It was something she and a friend were just starting. I couldn't make it to the first meeting. I was both disappointed and relieved. Disappointed because here was a chance to do something social and maybe meet new friends and hang out with an old one. Relieved because of the dreaded anxiety that I knew would weigh on me if I could have gone.
About 2 weeks ago, she invited me to the second meeting. They were reading Bossypants by Tina Fey (Side note: OMG...so funny and I am so crushing on Tina Fey. Like seriously, Tina, if this gets back to you...I think we could totally be besties! Call me :). I agreed to go. The group was meeting last night.
I stressed about it most of the day. I was distracted and withdrawn when I got home just thinking about how it would go. Could I really just walk into some one's house that I didn't know and chit-chat? Those are the situations that nightmares are made of. That is not just out of my comfort zone, that is like in another comfort galaxy that I will never visit.
But I kept telling myself...do this Jaime! DO IT!! You must do this!!!!
So, at 6:40ish I got in my car, typed the address into my navigation and went. I was way beyond anxious and nervous. I actually started hoping that I'd get lost and not be able to go. But then...suddenly there I was. Somehow, I managed to carry myself to the door and knock. And when the host answered, I actually smiled and said "Hi I'm Jaime." I barely even recognized myself.
I walked in and saw my old friend and met the other girls and at first...it was a bit awkward. But for the most part, they were all my age, we all had kids and husbands, we all worked. So we actually had a lot in common and I was able to contribute to the conversation and once the initial introductions were made and small talk was established, I felt comfortable.
Over the last 2 weeks, I almost chickened out countless times. I thought of every excuse, but I refused to let myself type that email. Refused to give in to the anxiety. And I have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself and now my comfort zone is just a little bit bigger.