Thursday, October 17, 2013

Outside My Comfort Zone

WARNING: This blog is long. Longer than usual and longer than I prefer. If I was the reader, I would likely deem it, "too many words" and not read it. So my feelings wont be hurt if you're not in for the long haul. 

I had surgery to remove my gall bladder a little over a week ago so I am off work. I have been antsy since about two days after the surgery. For the most part, I am finding things to do around the house so I can lay low and properly heal, but today was a different story.

Today, there were tree trimmers outside our window starting at 8am. Not just "a clip clip here and a clip clip there" kind of tree trimmers, but the kind with the wood chipper to grind the trimmings up. So it was LOUD! For some reason, the noise was really getting to me and giving me a lot of anxiety so at about 11am, I decided it was time for me to get in the shower and leave the house.

The question was what should I get out of the house and do?

I have been wanting to go to thrift stores because there are some things I want for projects, but I am not a huge fan of thrifting. It requires patience I typically don't have and I rarely find what I am looking for or anything for that matter. I was feeling lucky tho so thrifting was on my radar.

So was the beach. I have been wanting to read The Happiness Project for quite some time and I thought now would be a good time since I am off work and have the time to process it and get the most out of the book. So which would it be?


I decided to Google thrift stores in Laguna Beach and see what I could find. Then after that, I would head to the beach for a bit, people watch, and dive into my book.

Here's the thing. All of this was kind of outside of my comfort zone. Sure, I have been to Laguna Beach a multitude of times, but always with family and friends. Never alone. And only one other time have I ever driven there by myself. Don't get me wrong, I know my way around there well enough, but having to drive and navigate it alone made me uneasy.

Apparently, there is some truth in the following quote:
I don't want to mislead you into thinking that I had some great life experience because it was nothing of the sort. I just learned some things about myself. I wanted to share some of those things: 
  • I don't really do alone that well. Some things I do fine alone. Like regular things - grocery shopping, errand running, getting gas, even going to the movies - these are all things I can do alone. Apparently, thrifting and going to the beach, I prefer to do with someone.
    I was unsuccessful at the first thrift store. I looked at my phone to see where the other thrift stores were and tried to figure out if I could walk to them. Laguna is awesome, but parking can be a pain sometimes and I already paid for parking where I was so driving wasn't an option. Thrift store #2 that Google sent me to was no longer a thrift store and was a fancy schmancy restaurant. So I wandered. Like I said, I love Laguna and all it's little touristy shops. I can spend hours in them! That is, when I have people with me. I would walk in to a store, look at a couple things and then bolt out. I literally walked in circles trying to figure out what to do with myself.
    So I started to try and walk to thrift store #3. GPS said it was half a mile. I could walk that, no problem. So I started heading in that direction. And then I came to a large uphill slope and got to thinking - I am still recovering from surgery. What if it's too much? I don't have anyone with me. How would I get back to the car if it was too much and I couldn't make it?! What if I had to ask a stranger for help? Oh my! The humiliation of it all! So, I decided against it.
    I headed back to the car to put my wallet away. It was time to just grab my book, grab something to eat, and head to the beach for the remainder of my allotted parking time. (2.5 hours to be exact.)

  • Decisions and patience allude me when I am outside of my comfort zone. Trying to find somewhere to get something to eat was just stupid. There was a Whole Foods close to where I parked and the few times I have been to that store previously, I remember a wide variety of deli type foods. This was not the case at this store. It was like 1/2 of the normal store. But I found the deli and thought I'd just get a sandwich and be on my way. Sure, that would have worked if there wasn't someone in front of me and I wasn't out of my comfort zone and had the patience and desire to wait. So, like I did with the shops I entered and then I bolted.
    I continued to wander in circles trying to find another place to eat. In my wanderings, I saw a Irish Pub. Oooh, stopping for a pint of Guinness sounds awesome. Maybe I will do that! Oh, there's a patio too... How nice would that be? Oh. There's two guys on the patio. They're together... I'm alone. No, thank you - that was just too much discomfort for my liking. Guess I wont be doing that.
    So after wandering in circles for another good 15-20 minutes, I went to an overpriced deli I am semi-familiar with and got an overpriced sandwich and an overpriced cup of iced tea just because it's a place closer to my comfort zone, and headed to the beach.
  • I am sooo judgmental. But I tend to have more compassion and less judgement for the elderly. While sitting on the bench people watching, there was this older lady (probably late 60's - early 70's) with red and white striped pants on that were apparently on the thin side. Under the striped pants were what appeared to be blue and white patterned undies. It made me smile.
    Later, when walking back to the car, there was a woman who I would like to think was older than me, but was likely my own age, wearing white shorts. Under the white shorts were some dark colored undies with white polka dots. I rolled my eyes and visibly shook my head. She should know better!
    This is something I work on regularly. It is a constant battle. Not to mention this probably has A LOT to do with why I am not comfortable doing things alone. For some reason, being judged alone is more scary than being judged with other people. LOL What kind of sense does that even make?! <-- an="" br="" epiphany="" if="" just="" me.="" occurred="" that="" to="" will.="" you="">
  • I would have more fun in life if I worried less about what people thought. The whole time I was having this adventure, I kept thinking about blogging about it because it was somewhat absurd, yet funny to me and I thought it would be fun to share. However, I kept thinking snapshots of me along the way would be a fun way to chronicle the adventure. But I am too worried about other people judging me. "Look at the crazy chick all by herself taking random pics. What a sad life she lives. Doesn't she have any friends?" This is what I am convinced everyone would think when the reality is most people wouldn't even pay attention. And those that would might have kinder thoughts like, "Good for her for getting out and enjoying the day." Or perhaps someone might even admire my courage to get out and have a good time by myself. Not in my head, though. In my head, everyone is mean and negative.
  • I should work on spending more time in my heart and less time in my head. My head is not a safe place to be, but I spend waaay more time there than I should. Sometimes when I am left alone with my head for long periods I am annoyed when someone comes home because they are encroaching on me and my time with my head. Usually being in my head for too long is not good. I tend to start looking at and thinking about everything that is wrong or that I don't do that I should and I get really down on myself. Anyway, I didn't realize that I did this when I was out and about alone too.
    What I realized about this today is that my head is kind of a toxic place. Maybe if I didn't spend so much time up in there, my life would be somehow different. Perhaps rosier. Maybe I need to spend more time in my heart where the focus is love and compassion. I think it will help me see the word in a different way.
  • If you're looking for serenity, stay in your comfort zone. I tried to get comfortable on the beach, I really did. I didn't bring a chair or blanket so I was stuck sitting on the benches on the boardwalk. Unless, of course, I wanted to sit in the sand with no blanket/towel. For some reason, sand caked legs and sand in my undies wasn't all that appealing to me. Grass was also an option, but grass makes me itchy. That didn't appeal to me either. So I sat on the bench.
    As I mentioned before, I want to really process and absorb The Happiness Project. The beach outside of my comfort zone while alone is not the ideal place to do this. Concentration was at a minimum. Next time I want to be outside, alone, and find a place I can relax - I will stay in my comfort zone. Like a shady spot under a tree at an nearly empty park.
I finally gave up and decided I would start leisurely heading back to the car. I had maybe an hour left on my parking time so I would have fun and kill time taking pics on the way back. Here's what I got:

Impressive, right? SMH. I ended up pretty much just heading back to the car. I decided, though, that I deserved a little something for pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. So, I headed to my favorite souvenir shop and bought Kelly a shirt. Right next door to that shop, is the store that sells the candles I love so much, so I bought one of those too and headed home. I was back in the comfort of my own home before my allotted parking time expired.

If you hung in there and are still with me, thanks for reading. I thought this was absurd in the way I seemed to wander like I was lost. It's absurd that being alone and in foreign territory has such an affect on me. (Is anyone else like that?) I also realized how much work I could (and should) do on myself. So, I wanted to share.

I definitely want to keep going outside of my comfort zone because look how much I learned! Or rather, how much was brought to my awareness. I believe the more aware and conscious I am, the more I can improve my self and all these quirks I have. Ultimately achieving a more care free and peaceful life!  

What are your thoughts on all this?
Is there anything you can relate to?
Have you done any work to improve areas like these? What have you done?

Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. I liked this post a lot! I miss hearing your stories and the way you tell them! I'm glad you got out and experienced all of that and didnt just assume none of it would work out and that you actually learned things about yourself from the outting. That is always good. I am also glad that you are doing so well after your surgery! I wish I could have been there to thrift with you and help you feel not so alone.