For what was potentially the Bay’s hottest weekend to date in 2017, I did the opposite of what I normally would do, which is hide inside with AC. Instead, every single day starting from Friday after work, I was out.
Friday night, I went out to San Francisco to have dinner and watch Hamilton (!?!) with Candle Boy. Not only did I conquer my fear of walking around for over an hour in my 3-inch, slingback sandals, but I also discovered a love for fancy date nights.
Saturday, I woke up early to bake coconut macaroons for my dad for Father’s Day, and then spent the vast majority of the day out in SF (again) to attend a benefit concert at AT&T Park. Fun fact: This was the second time I’d gone to AT&T Park. The first time was for my senior ball.
On Sunday, I drove home toward the insane heat and spent the day with my parents — which also involved going out to run errands and buy food at our favorite, local Chinese restaurant. We started going there 19 years ago, when we first moved to California, and I don’t think we have any plans to stop anytime soon.
I know on paper, my weekend sounded amazing — and it was.
But oftentimes, for any other days, under any other circumstances, many of these weekend plans would have made me cringe and want to hide in a hole, especially given the weather.
Ever since I was little, I’ve always struggled with going out. For larger trips, like going on vacation to Taiwan, I was fine. There was so much anticipation and planning involved, I had time to fully prepare myself for this excursion and let the excitement build.
For the smaller things though, I often lost (and often still lose) the motivation to go out as the date nears. When I was little, I was sullen when my parents dragged me grocery shopping or asked me to go out with them for family time on the weekends. Nowadays, this sentiment occasionally manifests in my reluctance to go out and meet a friend.
This isn’t because I have something against my family or my friends. On the contrary, I love all the people with whom I make plans, but some days, it is genuinely hard for me to break away from my own head, go out, and be social.
My parents used to make fun of me when I was a kid because while I was consistently the member of the family who was the most unwilling to go out, I was also the one who often had the best time when we were out and about.
Back then, I brushed off their teasing as best I could. Now, even I can’t help but notice my own behavioral quirks.
There is much that can be said here about a person’s inclination to be social, their introverted and/or extroverted nature, as well as their mental health and readiness to spend time with other people in largely social settings.
That being said, however, behind each of these situations is still an individual’s ability to choose how they proceed. Moving outside of our comfort zones is always going to be a challenge, and although it feels safest to prepare until we feel completely ready to move forward, that moment might never come. We will always have to take a leap of faith and trust that our past experience and practice will pull us through.
We are all in charge of how we lead our own lives — down to our shoe choice for the evening, our temper while milling in the middle of very large crowds, and our outlook on going out in weather that will undoubtedly give you a headache by day’s end.
This weekend, I was incredibly fortunate that all my plans were ones that I had been at least somewhat anticipating. But I still also reminded myself to choose to be happy, through the blisters, the crowds, and the heat.
Whether it’s choosing to be happy, choosing to accept help, or choosing to do something differently, it all comes down to you. It’s your choice.