I like adventure, but I’m a creature of habit. I’m willing to try new things, but only with a detailed description of said things.

My friend Erin has been teaching an exercise class for two and a half years. She has asked, begged, insisted and suggested I attend from the first time she taught. Most of the time, I was busy. Kids needed to be somewhere, husband was working late, we were going to be out of town, or my hair needed washing. You know the drill. Classic avoidance.

I was sure she didn’t notice. My reasons were legit. Deep down, I was scared. What a wimp.

The idea of an exercise class scared the crap out of me. I was afraid of group fitness. I doubt there’s an actual named phobia for it, but there should be. I know it’s silly. There are much scarier things out there, like disease, tornadoes, hospitals and snakes. Things that are truly frightening to a lot of you.

It was annoying at times too, this phobia. Other friends would ask me to join them at hot yoga or this super fun dance exercise class. I was often tempted to try, but I couldn’t do it. Sure, I was afraid, but I also knew I couldn’t go to a single class until I went to Erin’s.

I help my kids try new things all the time. They can both ride a two-wheeler, they’ve each spent the night at a friend’s house, and they go back to see the dentist without me. When they’re scared, I talk to them about how all new things are scary, but we often end up really liking them once we try. Right? Right.

You see, I know this to be true. There are very few foods I won’t eat. I’m willing to try pretty much anything. I won’t eat olives or Krispy Kreme donuts. Yes, I’ve tried these olives and those olives. They all taste like olives. I spit one out just last week. I’m always giving the “one bite to be polite, because the second time you might like it” speech to my kids. The Boy recently discovered he does like rice.

For the most part, if we didn’t ever try new things, we’d be bored, right? New experiences are good for the soul.

The Girl wanted to buy lunch at school. To be fair, she wanted to get lunch at school. All lunches are served at no cost to students. She wanted to get a tray and have the chance to make choices each day. The problem? She was terrified of the unknown. I got it completely.

Once I explained exactly how it would work, calmed her tears and offered her a dollar if she tried and hated it, we were in business. When I picked her up from school that day, she proudly announced that it was “fun and exciting” and admitted she never should’ve been scared.

We all have our things, though. As much as I seem confident and outgoing, the courage I have to muster to get to a party or large gathering is profound. People are scary. I don’t like small talk. Believe it or not, I don’t want to be the center of attention. If I have a joke to tell, I’m happy to take the spotlight for a minute, but I’ll gladly give it up after the punchline. My rambling is often nervous chatter. For everyone’s sake, I should try harder to get over it.

One Saturday night, encouraged with wine, we did a test run. It wasn’t that bad. It was hard, but exercise should be hard. She said we’d just try it for a minute, and before I knew it, 45 minutes passed. It was good practice for her, and it eased my mind. A little. Mostly.

Before I went, I wanted to know exactly what would happen. Do people watch each other in the mirrors? What if I fall? I’m not flexible at all anymore. What if I can’t complete the certain task? What if I can’t make it for the whole hour? What if I, um, pass gas or something? As a true friend should, she assured me that these things do happen all the time, and it’s no big deal.

I finally went to Erin’s class. It’s a Body Flow class, which is part of the Les Mills franchise, and it combines Tai Chi, Pilates and Yoga. She teaches at the Downtown Y at noon on Wednesdays (Fridays, too). She met me outside, gave me a yoga mat and we went in.

I loved it. She’s allowed an I TOLD YOU SO. She wins. I made it through the whole class, and I only fell a couple of times. I should’ve trusted her from the beginning. I’ve been back several times since, and I haven’t needed a drop of wine for encouragement. Cheers!

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