Follow by Email

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Monday, Tuesday Wednesday... Days 45 46 & 47 Valentines Day

Monday, February 14th: Valentines Day.

Solo Dinner out in a public well lit, crowded restaurant.

The Rules:
  • Reservations had to be made (7:30 pm)
  • I had to be there at least 45 minutes
  • Restaurant had to be a big, crowded, well lit, open space so I could not hide in the shadows
  • I had to dress up for the event
  • I had to do a full dinner: drinks, food, desert 
  • I could not invite friends to come and meet me at any time
Valentines Day is one of the most interesting days: if your a couple and in love you are supposed to have today be the day where you celebrate that love.  If your a couple and your not really in love, it is the day you are supposed to do the obligatory meal out together. And if you are single it is the day you are supposed to either hide from the world and mope about being single; or it is the day you are supposed to rally your single friends up for a night on the town looking for other lonely singles to mingle with.  If said friends do not want to go on the prowl this year... ice cream, beer/wine, and a movie are standard 2nd options.

I have had my own shares of Valentine's Day triumphs and mis-steps.  In college I bought bouquets of flowers for several of my close, single female friends.  They had been complaining about being single so I thought I would do something nice for them.  When you go to buy flowers on V-Day, make sure they are roses.  I apparently bought carnations or something, and boy did I get a lecture about the difference between the two flowers - lesson learned.  On one V-Day I sent flowers to my girl friend at the times place of work.  I scored bonus point as mine were the first flowers to arrive on scene that day.  She loved me, all the guys hated me because I made them look bad - lesson learned.  Going out on a couple V-Day's as a single with other single friends, I quickly realized that there were not a lot of happy singles out celebrating singledom, but rather the bars were littered with people drowning their sorrows and people who kept buying the drinks, trying to get the drowners drunker.  Lesson learned.

Several years ago I was terrified to go anywhere social solo.  No going out to eat, no movies, no bars, none of it.  Unless I had wing people I was avoiding it.  It took me time to get comfortable in doing those things alone.  The first few meals out by myself I would have to take a book because I felt everyone was staring at me thinking "what a loser that guy must be... he doesn't have anyone to eat with."  I remember the first movie I went to buy myself I felt like I had to sneak in because everyone would be looking at me thinking I was some kind of weird creepy person going to the movies alone.

Needless to say with time and repetition, I have now gotten myself to a place where I have no problem going out to eat solo or movies.  And often times I prefer the quiet of my own thoughts it can be pretty liberating and I often do some of my best thinking during these times.

Valentines Day however, that is a whole other story.  I still feared it, feared being in public, feared being seen as "that guy" who doesn't have anyone.  Since a big component of the 1000 Challenge is to face my fears and do that which makes me uncomfortable... it was time to take my self out for a night on the town on the big V-Day.

Within three minutes of sitting down my waitress asked me if I was waiting for someone else, "Nope just dinner for one tonight," I replied.  "Oh..." was her response.  I panicked, "no no no it's not like that, it's by choice I am trying to do a 1000 things this year I have never done before and blah blah blah blah."  My attempt to explain my situation turned into a panicked sales pitch to justify my being there.  Calm down Jesse, Calm down - quick I need a beer.  Ahhhhh much better, the edge is off, the nerves are settled, on with the night.

About mid way through my dinner one of the managers came over and asked if she could eat with me.  "So, what's your story?"  "Everyone here is talking about you... we reached a unanimous decision that you must have been stood up."

"Sorry to disappoint, but I am actually here by choice, you see...." while I was explaining the 1000 Challenge to her another one of the managers came over the three of us laughed at the situation I had created.  In the midst of Valentines Day, I had become quite the subject of conversation.  Fictitious stories of me being stood up and the reasons WHY I must have been swirled through the air and were circulating through the restaurant faster than Charlie Sheen's latest stint in rehab.  It was something else and I could not stop laughing about it.

Finally I left after almost two hours at dinner.  I left feeling happy, empowered, and much wiser than when I first walked in. I left feeling liberated, like a weight had been lifted  off my shoulders.  I no longer had to feel sad, or depressed, or angry or anything because I was solo on Valentine's Day.  I left feeling like I could just feel happy and love myself.  That I could go out and let the "voices" and "conversations", about me go on,  and in the end not really care what everyone else thought.  It was kind of sad in a way, mid way through my conversation with the two manager ladies I stopped and pointed out how quiet it was in the restaurant.  "Do you notice, that we are the loudest table right now?  And we are definitely laughing more than anyone else.  Look around, these are all supposedly couples in love out celebrating their love and listen to how quiet it is in here."

In fact, in that moment I felt like I was one of the more "In Love" people in the restaurant.  I was out by myself on couple days and having a great time.  Lesson learned.

So what did I gain from my big date, confirmation of some and learning of new life insights which I will share with you all now:

  • Self love is imperative...the more you love yourself the more love you will have to give to another
  • If you really love yourself you are never alone because you always have YOU.
  • If I can't enjoy my own company, how can I expect anyone else to?  
  • People love to gossip, and my appearence of being "stood up" gave them something to talk about.  What is gossip really?  Gossip is just a way for people to avoid dealing with their own issues, by talking about others.  Which leads me to...
  • Don't let what you think other people are thinking hold you back or intimidate you 
  • The only limitations we have on our happiness are those which are self imposed. For the last several Valentine's Day's I was sad.  Lets say I continued that pattern for the rest of my life... say another 73 years.  Now, by making the choice to be happy on V-Day I get 73 more days of happiness in my life that's over two additional months!! 
  • You have choices, we get to choose to smile or frown, laugh or sulk... sure there are circumstances in life where Sh** happens and we can't have sunshine and rainbows all the time, but for the majority of it... the choice is ours.
  • Enjoy the pics,
  • Carpe Diem
  • Jesse
http://www.jessebrisendine.com
http://www.facebook.com/1year1000challenge



9 comments:

  1. Love this post. Great message Jesse. You're a brave man, and look at what you were rewarded with for pushing yourself. You turned heads, you made people laugh, and you realized it was OK to just be with yourself, no matter what day of the year.

    I celebrated my singleness on Valentines day by pushing myself super hard at the gym! Hah :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for being so open and posting also what seems to be the not so funny challenges..
    and in the end they are fun... maybe not always, but I wish u all the best and a lot of faith and power to go through all 1000.
    I´ll offer you my car for driving on the German Autobahn!:-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. That is a really interesting article you wrote! Sorry, if I'm going to ramble a little bit, but while reading through your words, I was shaking my head most of the time, not believing the people you were surrounded by.

    First of all: I'm deeply in love for almost 10 years now and quite certain that I've found the love of my life already. I think my boyfriend thinks the same about me, otherwise he wouldn't be staying with me that long. lol

    But we actually never felt the need to celebrate Valentine's Day if we didn't want to. We don't go out to dinner if we don't feel like it, and certainly not only because someone said on this day we should. I don't understand why people feel so intimidated by that date. It's a day like all the others and has its roots somewhere in the catholic church. I've have spent quite some Valentine's Days alone in my life and I never felt bad about it. What is there to feel bad about? Just because you haven't found the person you're looking for, yet? Is that truly a reason to label someone as a loser? I don't think so, because that is definitely not something as easy as finding a new pair of shoes you like.

    I think it was really awesome that you went out on Valentine's Day all by yourself and showed those poeple that it's nothing to be uncomfortable about! Valentine's Day shouldn't be seen as a day where you cannot be alone. It's a day couples might celebrate if they want to and not for singles to feel bad. I would never like a present my boyfriend gave me just because it's Valentine's Day. On the contrary, I would love the presents he made me on any other day so much more, because on those days he just felt for it. Isn't that what truly counts?

    I absolutely agree with you, that people who are gossiping about you are only avoiding their own problems. And people who care so much about February 14th that they are actually disappointed when their boyfriends don't send the flowers first thing in the morning, they totally forgot what love's truly about and are actually the ones to feel sorry about.

    Sorry for my long comment, I just had to get this out. Great article! Keep on rockin' and show em! ;)

    Best wishes from Germany!
    Steffie

    ReplyDelete
  4. When reading Your post it sounds like eating by yourself on Valentine's day is not so bad :).

    You are so brave Jesse, way to go! <3

    Freezing (-22C outside :) greetings from Finland,
    tintti.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm glad that the solo dinner date went better than you expected!

    I was nodding and laughing towards the end where you listed your insights about what you have learned and it's just funny because I tell those EXACT things to my girlfriends. I find it a little ridiculous that a lot of people aren't comfortable in their own skin to even be by themselves for a couple hours. Like they're almost scared of it.

    Awesome message and I'm really happy to see your positivity while you're completing your list!!

    I'm slowly knocking mine out ;)

    <3 Steph

    ReplyDelete
  6. Awesome job! I feel inspired! My best friend and I have a little joke that being out to dinner alone with no book, news paper, cell phone to occupy your time is like being out with "no weapons". Its scary at first but then liberating in the end.
    You always have to remember that people point the finger at you because they think that if they point at you no one will see through them.
    I've been out in a room full of people that have known me my whole life but I did not recognize any of them, I had a patch on one eye (my pirate look), and had people asking me questions and expecting me to know who they are......it was terrifying! Its being alone on whole new level!
    But it has made me HAVE to get to know myself. Once you know yourself and are totally aware of what it is to be YOU it opens up so many doors to living life less afraid because YOU know that YOU can handle it! (not sure if I'm saying that right)
    And you got a bunch of girls flowers in college and they complained about them not being roses?! What a bunch of a-holes!!!!
    To me, roses are the commercial flower that every dude sends to every girl on Valentine's Day, her birthday, etc..... I was once given a handful of what I only know as "railroad flowers" wrapped in a note and it was the sweetest thing ever!! It's the thought that counts! Sounds like you went out of your way to be nice to some girls who for lack of a better term, were not worthy! LOL
    I'm going to be honest, with everything that has happened to me in my life it's hard for me to find inspiration in other peoples challenges but you my friend, I find very inspiring!!
    People always want to do one big thing to say to them self, "I conquered life", like jump out of a plane......once. But its the 1,000 little things that you encounter everyday that you're too afraid to do that really show courage!!
    Carpe Diem!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks everyone for all your feedback and sharing your insights/comments/stories. I love reading all of them

    ReplyDelete
  8. Just started following your blog/challenge of 1,000 things ... i absolutely love it. This particular post is one of my favorites and I look forward to more. It's nice to read such positive stuff ... a breath of fresh air, really. Thanks and keep it up :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. YOU INSPIRE ME, i have so many hidden fears which your comments help me so much to push them out. CARPE DIEM JESSE.

    ReplyDelete