Comfort in the Unknown
"I'm excited and nervous about it," I said.
"Why?" James asked.
"Because it's outside of my normal milieu. Outside of my comfort zone."
There's a pause. I know what my husband is about to say next, and I know he's right.
"Yeah, but doing things outside of your comfort zone is part of who you are."
"That doesn't mean they're not still uncomfortable."
It's true. I do push myself to do things outside of my comfort zone, not because I'm an adrenaline junkie with something to prove, but because so often what I want is beyond the boundaries of what I know. I do these things because I know I'd regret not doing them:
- Auditioning for college and community theatre
- Living in a foreign country for a year
- Going out to eat or to a movie by myself
- Signing up for a five-day art seminar retreat
- Putting my private thoughts out there for the world to read
- Planting a garden
- Going to conferences filled with other bloggers and writers
- Signing up for a summer watercolor class
- Learning to drive a stick shift
- Mastering the insidious worlds of mortgage lending and credit scores
- Taking a roadtrip by myself
- Calling the mayor's office to ask for an interview
- Going door-to-door to campaign for my candidate of choice
- Starting a business
- Trying scallops
- Admitting that I've struggled with depression
- Getting my first pet
- Volunteering to be a Big Sister
- Wearing pantyhose and high heels
I picture my comfort and discomfort zones as slightly intersecting circles with just the tiniest bit overlapping in a shade of grey. But beyond that are more circles. Your circles. And they all intersect. What I fear, you may not think about twice. What I do with ease may send you spiraling into a panic.
What if we could let go of the fear, acknowledge the discomfort and just move on, knowing that our circles' boundaries will change; believing that others will be there to welcome us into their zones?
What if "Feel the fear and do it anyway" was more than a saying that has become trite from extended usage in certain circles? What if it's the only way to live?
I'd love to hear what your comfort zone includes and excludes. I imagine building this giant network of comfort and support, so that no matter what we have to do, we know someone who can tell us all about it and welcome us into our own unknown.