Hey all, Sam here wishing you a happy weekend!
I wrote this email in my head a week ago while I was at a gig by myself (The Prodigy – probably one of the best live music experiences I have ever been to!!). Being there “alone” amongst maybe 10,000 other people got me reflecting on comfort zones and how we can push ourselves, but often don’t...
The old version of me, as I have mentioned before, was always quite shy and stayed well within my comfort zone until I gave up alcohol. However I started going to gigs alone while I was still in my “shy” phase and drove to many of my concerts so didn’t even have the alcohol blanket to keep me “safe”! Music makes me so happy and I feel that seeing a band or artist live can just be so amazing and so different every time.
Over the years I’ve kept a spreadsheet of all the gigs I’ve been to, where they were, and who I was with (I know, it’s a little sad, but live music is my passion!!!) It turns out I’ve been to 75 concerts – almost half of which I went to alone – on top of that I’ve been to 7 festivals (mostly Glastonbury) – where I will usually spend a lot of time by myself…
My worst gig was when I had tickets for myself and my mum to see Queen with Paul Rogers in Hyde Park. Unfortunately, the day they were playing was the same day as the London bombings and so they had to postpone to a date after my mum had gone back to Manchester. I invited a friend instead, who, after the warm up act (Razorlight), revealed that she actually hated Queen and she was only there to see the band that had just been on! So instead of being super excited at seeing (a version of) one of my favourite bands, I stood dancing next to a girl who sat on the floor for most of the evening!
My thoughts are that if you love something enough, why wait until someone else will come and hold your hand to do it? I found, especially if you really love an artist and bring someone for company only, you run the risk of feeling like a superfan in comparison – or maybe they want to be at the front and you prefer to step back and take the whole thing in. Maybe… you want to be there for a good boogie – PERFECT – but why not boogie with hundreds or thousands of strangers?!
It took a little more of a push for me to go on holiday alone for the first time – me and my now ex boyfriend were planning to go to the Edinburgh Fringe comedy festival for the 3rd time together for my 30th birthday. Unfortunately we broke up 4 months earlier – by this point my life was all about new experiences and pushing my comfort zone and so I went it alone! The freedom to do what I wanted was so refreshing – 8 months later I was on a flight to Italy, the beginning of my year of solo travel around Italy and Asia!
If you were in SMASH yesterday you will have (hopefully) noticed my absence – it's because I’m currently in Turkey! It’s a little bit of a random trip and another example of me challenging my comfort zone because I’m visiting a friend that I only met earlier this year and here we are meeting for a whole weekend!
After being single for 5 years I decided at the beginning of the year to “put myself out there” and start dating for the first time ever! – Using the popular dating apps available, I challenged my comfort zone, meeting people to see what the world of dating is about! It has led to me finding some very lovely people - as well as some not-so-lovely people but getting a good story in the meantime!! The main lesson I have learnt from the year is that I am actually happy and fine being "alone" and for now SMASH is my priority. I have all the love I need from friends and family so, until I meet someone who rocks my world, I'll have a lot to keep me busy and focused!
One of my early dates was with my Turkish friend and, even though it was never going to be a serious relationship as they only had a visa until June, they stayed in contact and invited me to come visit. The first couple of times I assumed it was just politeness but, as it turns out, they really wanted me to visit as we had a lot in common and always laughed a lot in each others company! So here I am, hopefully having a great time and being well looked after!
What will you say yes to this weekend? Is there anything that you have been putting off because you didn’t want to do it by yourself? Is there someone in your life that has offered you an opportunity that you COULD agree to? Challenge your comfort zone and don’t over think it! It could be the best end to your year...
Sam and Ash