Recently, Eric and I celebrated an anniversary and, as is custom, Eric chose for us a special place to eat. He usually takes me to a fun, new place for special occasions; and while he plans to keep the place a secret, he usually asks me at the last minute if I want to know where we are going… and I almost always do. When it comes to food (and life), my natural inclination is to prepare. I don’t want to be craving steak only to end up at the world’s greatest pizza restaurant (although I can almost always shift my taste buds for pizza). So, where did he take me?
Eric took me to a tapas bar. If you say “tapas bar” out loud to a group of people who have no idea what you’re talking about, it will sound like somewhere in the red light district – and you’ll likely need to explain yourself. “Tapas” means a wide variety of small appetizers or snacks. At a tapas bar (at least in the United States) two or three small plates are ordered per person and then often shared with others seated at the table which results in a full meal over sampling several plates. At our meal, our dishes were: fresh, handmade mozzarella with basil and kalamata olives, spring rolls filled with duck confit and napa cabbage with a tasty orange chili sauce, quail with granny smith apples and maytag blue (cheese), and jerk chicken with a mango ginger sauce (our favorite) and carmelized plantain. We also tried three different cheeses (epoisses, camembert, and cabrales) and their delicious lemon pie and homemade cinnamon ice cream topped with brown sugar. The experience was like jumping off a cliff into culinary delight. We had a wonderful time, and thanks to Groupon, our pocketbook allowed us to try this restaurant and we were able to feast! Such a meal is not common for us, but it was a fun anniversary meal and great experience.
Before Eric and I met, I was not one to experiment with new food. My exotic restaurant picks were limited to: Golden Corral, Pizza Hut, and The Sandpiper (a seafood restaurant I was dragged to once a week as a child). Needless to say, when Eric and I began dating, I was thrown into a whole new world of culinary delight. At first, I was quite resistant to new foods, but as I tried each new dish, I became excited to try another new dish until I was excited to try each new genre of food that came my way.
Trying new foods was a bigger step for me then it would be for some people – mainly because I come from a family background that generally strongly resists change. Even minor changes in tradition used to upset me. Stepping out and allowing Eric to broaden my horizons in one area, namely food, gave me the ability to trust that other changes were not to automatically be feared. When I do find myself doubting Eric when he suggests making or trying something new (which he regularly enjoys), he is quick to point out the food in my life that I love which I wouldn’t have known if I had not tried something new. As hard as it is, even today, Eric continues to lead me in trying new things that are out of my comfort zone (be it food or experiences). When I willingly go along with it, the variety often enriches my life and it strengthens our relationship!
Is there something your boyfriend or girlfriend wants you to try? Maybe it is a strange restaurant, a class of some sort, a music video he or she wants to record with you (I was also resistant toward this when Eric pitched the idea!), or an athletic activity you have never tried? Have you spent so much time building up a case as to why you can’t or shouldn’t do something that you haven’t given yourself a chance to think of what good may come of it? Could it be fun? Could it be an adventure you may cherish in years to come? I’d encourage you to pick at least one thing your significant other wants you to try, set aside your inhibitions, and try it (as long as it’s legal and morally good, of course <smile>). Overall, I would encourage you to start saying “yes” more often to likely positive experiences. When your inclination is to say “no” because it’s uncomfortable or you just don’t feel like it, try jumping instead.
What’s stopping you from jumping?