Navigating through life away from the library.
Navigating through life away from the library.

Eat Pray Love and Make Some Friends

In many ways I tend to be a creature of habit ~ I shop in stores where people know me, I travel the same route to and from home and I talk to my mother and/or sisters every day.  In other ways, I’m adventurous ~ I love to try new foods, I get a rush out of public speaking and I don’t like to follow a schedule. I know, I’m an enigma wrapped in a mystery, a woman of contradiction.

One of the few areas in which I’m not so adventurous is in social situations. Making friends is, quite simply, hard for me to do.  I can talk to strangers ~ you know, tell a lady that I love her handbag or that her hair color is fabulous.  I’ve even helped strangers put together outfits while I’m shopping but anything beyond a superficial connection is just difficult for me.  I don’t call people up to see if they’re busy because I don’t want to bother them.  Is that weird?

Anyway, a few months ago I decided to step out of my comfort zone and join a book group.  I thought Ok, this could work, we’ll have something in common ~ the books we read~ and maybe that can translate into something more.  The book we chose to read and discuss was Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  As part of the book discussion, we also decided to see the movie and then go out for coffee afterwards.

So today was the day.  In fact, I just got home about 1/2 an hour ago…. Anyway, all day today I jumped back and forth between going and staying. Usually, I’ll agree to attend an event and then at the last minute I’ll beg off because, well,  that’s what I do.  Tonight, I ended up going and I’m glad that I did.

First of all, let me give my honest opinion of the book ~ it was OK.  I think it was a little overrated.  I mean, we all go through things in our lives that make us want to slip quietly out the back door and walk away, but not all of us get the chance to spend a year whining about it in Italy, India and Bali. I mean, really, it’s hard to feel sorry for someone who gets to recover from a divorce for a year half way around the world.  Second, the movie was hard to follow ~ if you didn’t read the book.  At one point in the movie, Liz is in Italy and then in the next scene she’s riding a bike in India.  There’s no transition and no indication that she has changed countries until you notice the people are darker and she’s in ashram.  Furthermore, a lot of things happen in the movie that simply aren’t explained, so you think either Liz is crazy or you are because one of you has absolutely no idea what is going on.  Again, I’m speaking on behalf of the individual who has not read the book.  Last, there were some funny/poignant/moving parts to the movie and Julia Roberts was, as always, fabulous.

Now to the meeting of the NEPA Chick Lit Book Group…  There were four ladies total (counting myself) and they couldn’t have been more welcoming.  I thought I’d feel like an outsider because these ladies have a history, they’ve read/discussed other books, they’ve hung out together, etc.  But I  instantly felt like one of the girls.  As we talked over coffee at Starbucks, the discussion turned to Christmas (these ladies are planners) and I was invited to attend the Christmas party.  How cool is that?  I’m not sure what our next book is going to be but I am looking forward to our next night out.

Have you ever joined a book group?  In what ways have you stepped out of your comfort zone?

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