In a previous post, I talked about how in order to make friends and perhaps find that special woman, I need to get outside the comfort of my home, meet other people and engage in social activities. For someone on the Autism Spectrum making plans, getting outside the house and meeting new people can be a very hard thing to do. A few weeks ago, though, I went outside my comfort zone and had a blast.
On the 4th of July, a friend from church, Josh, invited me for a day on the lake with his family on their electric pontoon party boat. Independence day on Westlake Lake is fun and very exciting. The local yacht club hosts a sailboat race. Most boat owners are out on the water that day with coolers and picnics. Many carry supersoakers or water balloons to assist other boaters in keeping cool. When I was growing up I lived on the lake and loved to watch the race and the water battles. I was very excited for this opportunity to join in but a little nervous at the same time. Josh told me that I would be on the boat with his wife, Cristie, and his mother-in-law while he was racing on one of the sailboats. I had met Cristie before, but I did not know her as well as I knew Josh and I never met her mother. Meeting new people is always nerve racking for me.
My autism makes me very self conscious about how I come off to others. I worried that while on the boat, I would make a social faux pas that would make these people think something is wrong with me. The last thing I want is to be seen as different or to be defined by my autism. On the boat, I enjoyed socializing with Cristie and her mother while watching the sailing race. We cheered Josh and the oldest daughter on. I also enjoyed getting to take the helm for part of the trip which I always enjoy doing. In the end, I think Cristie and her mother really enjoyed my company. When we docked, Cristie told me how much she enjoyed having me out with them and that they want to have me out again. I really enjoyed my time on the lake as well and I know I wouldn't have had nearly as much fun if I had stayed home that day and watched Youtube videos.
There is an exciting world out there filled with fun and interesting people as well ad exciting experiences. I realize that just by getting out there, I can have even more fun experiences just like I had on the boat that day. I need to go seek them out. While meeting new people is hard for me, I know that the rewards will be well worth it. Who knows, I may meet that special woman who I have been looking for in one of these outings. All I need to do is keep making the effort and take that leap of faith.