Thursday, June 19, 2014

Life is What You Make Of It

I was never a big fan of gym class.

I guess not many people were, but I really wasn't... especially when I got to high school.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, made me more stressed and anxious than gym class.  We'd get put together in groups, the teacher would pick some sort of sport of physical activity for us to play together and I'd always be embarrassed.  Soon enough, after the first few weeks, gym class became a free for all and everyone picked whatever they wanted to do... which meant me and my friends sat in the bleachers and talked.  Sometimes we'd play badminton in a corner or go into a room and watch a Tae Bo tape (emphasis on the watch), but more often than not, we did nothing

Gym class was what I made of it - a time to sit back and hang out with friends.

It's shocking that I had body issues, right? 

Over the years, I've become a lot more confident with myself.  I can go to the gym, go to a class, go for a run without feeling totally stupid.  (Some days.)  But, there is still a part of that thirteen year old inside of me who constantly feels embarrassed and less than.  I'll always think I'm the least competent in the room... until I actually do it and realize that I'm actually pretty good at it, or at least can get a handle on it.  Unless it's something I already know that I'm decent at like improv, dancing or singing all the words to Hilary Duff's first album, Metamorphosis. Get me in a room where that is being played/sung and I'll DOMINATE. 

Cut to last week, when I was at my company's party and pulled up to Manhattan Beach and was told that I would be taking a surf lesson.  All of a sudden, the thirteen year old in me screamed, "NO NO NO THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING NO."  Back in my high school days, nothing was more mortifying than going into the locker room, changing into whatever weird workout clothes I had back then and then going out to the gym with people that I barely knew to do a physical activity I likely didn't have the strength or motivation to do.  Now, more than ten years later, I was standing with nineteen strangers and was told to put on a wetsuit and test my physical strength.  

I contemplated in my head whether or not I was ready for it.  I thought of all the things that could go wrong, about the make-up that would be all over my face, about the hair that would get messed up, about the simple fact that I could fail tremendously in front of all these people.  Then, I noticed something funny that I didn't notice when I was back in high school... mostly everyone else was nervous too.  Even some of the boys were nervous.  For the most part, we were all strangers and we were being asked to step out of our comfort zones all together and  do something vulnerable. 

So, I said yes.  I chose to bury the uncertainty and stop letting myself feel weird or awkward.  I grabbed a wetsuit, followed the girls to the dressing room - where we helped each other zip up our suits and tell each other that everyone looked totally fine in their wetsuits despite how awkward we all truly felt - and we headed back to the beach, applied sunblock and picked a board.  We all practiced jumping up and down on the boards.  We got feedback in front of each other.  We took pictures.  We hit the waves... and fell repeatedly.  We got banged up and bruised and covered in tar (Manhattan Beach is covered in tar, so that's nice.)  Then we all changed back into our regular clothes, got on the bus and all felt a little more comfortable around each other and all felt a little relieved, and glad, that we decided to just go for it.  I would never have done that on my own.  

I decided to make that day a fun memory to think back on where I took a chance, looked a little bit stupid, forced myself to step out of my comfort zone and actively hang out with a bunch of strangers instead of a day where I sat awkwardly in the corner wishing that I was home on my couch with my cat.  (Although, let's face it, I always kind of wish that I was home on my couch with my cat.  She's just so cute!)

It was such a great experience.  Especially since we all went and drank immediately after.  So, remember, life is what you make of it.  Even if it's TAKING CHANCES ON AWESOME EXPERIENCES... and then drinking them all away.  Get it gurl.

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