I Went Out and It Wasn’t So Bad
Cold weather isn’t why I don’t do stuff.
Three friends, four parties, a 75% success rate. The culmination of these events became my first big social challenge of 2019.
Before I take you on a journey through a month’s worth of celebrations, let me break down why it even matters.
First, the mythology developed around “being lazy” and how great it is does not land with me. There is a culture that’s been manufactured around the glory of staying home, wearing sweats and watching TV. “Perfect Saturday Night” the memes say in droves. And it is fun, but honestly, in the deepest sense, I’m not this person. If I’m home doing nothing, then that is time that I could be doing something. Lounge-around time is earned. Maybe I picked this up in my childhood, maybe it came out of balancing five jobs at once in my mid-twenties, but whatever it is, I love-hate it. It motivates me to be constructive in my free time, but it always manifests as guilt once I hit hour two of watching anything on TV.
Second, cut to any time I make social plans. I love going out, and I love having people over. I used to get incurably mopey when I didn’t have plans on the weekend. Of course I’m going to tell you that my perspective has shifted, and sometime in the recent past, I’ve developed a real anxiety about socializing with anyone whether I know them or not. Going out means talking to people, and beyond the weather I suck at small talk. It means being interesting and hoping people like me and that I make an impression. People-pleasing mode turns on and I nervously throw my glance around the room making sure I look like I’m doing party the way everyone else is. Is party standing and drinking and talking? Okay, then I am doing “party”. Everyone check back in 45 seconds? Great.
What this all means is that when a good friend that I’d love to see invites me out to a party, I love that I have something to do while I equally DREAD having to go.
Party #1: The Warm-Up
Tim’s party was on a Friday. On Tuesday, I woke up and remembered I had a party to go to on Friday. A full four days beforehand, my heart sank at the mere thought of a social gathering. All day Friday I battled against giving myself see-through reasons to not go. I felt kind of sick, but it was just my sinuses. I was so tired (no I wasn’t). But the truth was I didn’t know that anyone would care if go. Would anyone be like ‘Ah man, I was hoping to see Andrea tonight!” ? Big downer, I know. My mind trying to trick me? You bet.
I had to cut through Times Square on my walk to this one, and was running unfashionably early, so I just stopped at the TKTS steps and sat for a while. I listened to Lizzo and watched all the digital billboards. I helped some tourist take a photo. It was a gentle reminder of how grateful I am that I even made it here, and how silly I felt about trying to bail just an hour before. The party was lovely, I met a few new people and was surprised by a friend who just made it into town for a quick visit. Plus, free chicken tenders…so, that was a win.
Party #2: The Accidental Party
The next Friday, we went for drinks with Dan’s co-workers. One drink turned into many turned into let’s karaoke turned into me, boyfriend and four delightful humans I’d just met belting Moana songs in a private room in the West Village. It was the type of night that happens in movies. It wasn’t planned so I didn’t have time to back out or feel distress, so bonus points for spontaneity.
Party #3: The Bail Out
The next morning, I woke up ready for the day, then I recalled that I was not in my early twenties like my fellow karaoke slayers (except for Dan). Translation: I was hungover, and boyfriend had it even worse than me. Sweet Akilah had messaged me a few days before to ask if I was coming to her party, a night where it was everyone’s birthday and she was making custom t-shirts. At the time I told her I’d be there. However, I made the decision to skip Saturday’s party and felt awful because it’s not the first time I’ve bailed on Akilah. I think she would have understood on some level, but I didn’t even let her know I wasn’t coming. I felt bad about that, too.
Party #4: Thirty, Flirty and Thriving
Two weeks later, Audrey’s birthday party was happening uptown. Going into Manhattan on the weekends makes me feel like I live in the suburbs. Being in a long-term relationship at a party full of single people sometimes makes me feel like an old lady. Basically, went into it with the wrong attitude. I spent too long worrying that I was the boring person nobody really wanted to talk to instead of just talking to people. But listen, Audrey served Pizza Rolls and tiny cream puffs, and paid for my first drink at her party. That’s class. We stayed until the end and then got hot chocolates to sip on the way home. And, no joke, saw a young girl chuck a full milkshake at an older man outside a McDonald’s on the Upper East Side. I don’t know why it happened, but it was one of the most New York-ass things I’ve ever seen.
But more about me…
I’m too in my head, and I’m a bit depleted, but overall genuinely proud of myself and my follow through. I’m struggling to know who I am in this moment, which makes it weird to talk about myself, but who hasn’t been there? I have an irrational fear of the question “So tell me about yourself?”, but I think I’ll be able to work through that. This marathon (for me) of parties has been fulfilling. I’m remembering why I love going out so much and that I have wonderful friends who do want to be around me. Hesitant as I was, I came out of each night feeling a bit less self-aware and knowing a few more people.
To add another layer, now it’s my turn. My birthday is later this month and all these fine friends asked I simply say the word and they will be there to celebrate with me. How incredibly lucky is that? I’m thinking bowling. Am I too old for bowling? What did you do when you turned 32?