Meet your comfort zone. This is your safety net, your “place,” where you always feel okay. It’s the things you do regularly, with the same people, the same food, the same experiences, the same actions, the same outcomes, the same feelings. Your comfort zone is a tricky, deceiving figment of your imagination. It knows all of your fears and insecurities and hides them away so you don’t have to deal with them. So you don’t have to face them. Your comfort zone will make you feel, well, comfortable – and that change isn’t necessary. If you ever stepped out of your comfort zone, what would happen?
The fact that there is never a definitive answer to that question is what will scare you the most. You don’t know what will happen. You could crash and burn, fall hard, get hurt, fail miserably. Or, you could experience the complete opposite.
My comfort zone was my go-to, the toxic relationship I just couldn’t leave. Just like Carrie Bradshaw and her Manhattan apartment (pre-Big relationship) I moved in, unpacked my closet and planned on staying forever. I felt safe there, enjoyed it there, where failure wasn’t a familiar face. But hanging out in my comfort zone got a bit dull and my mind started to wander on to bigger, crazier, more adventurous and, unfortunately, scary places and ideas. These ideas were all over the place – from career goals, new hobbies, ways to give back, life improvements, health/wellness, travel adventures – honestly, the list could go on for days. But just as quickly as they were created, they were soon slowly destroyed.
Why? Because fear is a dirty, dirty thief and steals away far too much from us. It was like my comfort zone wanted me all for itself and sucked me back in, just as I took a couple steps outside. It took my insecurities and my doubts and laid them all out on the table for me. Started following me around with them, never letting me forget. Making me feel like I wasn’t good or brave enough to make these ideas an actual possibility. So I listened, I pushed the ideas aside. But they kept coming back and eventually – enough was enough. I put my big girl pants on, kicked my comfort zone away with brutal force and decided it was time. It was time to live.
And now, I can honestly say I’ve never been happier. I still have some reservations about certain things, but now my comfort zone is a much smaller, less visited place in the back of my mind. I’m starting to find out where my heart is, what I have a true passion for. I’ve learned that volunteering is the most rewarding experience, no matter what you do or how you do it. I’ve traveled alone to another country almost 10,000 miles away (another blog will be posted about that!) and fell in love with it. I’ve made decisions about my life, health and values that I’m thrilled to implement. No longer will my insecurities and self-doubt stop me from accomplishing the things I want. No longer will the fear of not being good enough stop me from being the person I want to be.
SO – this is where you come in. It’s your turn. Think of your comfort zone and all that it holds. Determine your biggest fears, your insecurities and the way your comfort zone makes you feel. Now take it in the palm of your hand and throw it out the window going 120 mph on the highway. Throw it into the fire and toast to the new you. Step on it, cut it up like all the credit cards you shouldn’t have or use a cheese grater on it and turn it into pizza. I don’t care what you do – just get rid of it. Remove all of the negativity and security and get ready to start over. Because from here on out, that list of goals isn’t going to end up in a stack of papers you end up losing or throwing away. It’s going to have every goal crossed off because you’ve achieved all of them. From here on out, you’re going to try something new and love it. Or hate it. But you’ll know because you did it. You tried. And that’s more than most people can say. From here on out you’re going to have the kinds of experiences that follow the words “what if…” or the things people re-pin on their Pinterest boards or say they’ve always dreamed of being a part of. From here on out, you will no longer be looking at others with envy, because you’ll be too busy doing everything you love – everything you have dreamed of doing. From here on out, your comfort zone is a thing of the past. From here on out, you are going to love yourself and be proud of the life you live.
So what are you waiting for? Stop talking in future terms and start planning your next adventure, your next life change, your next idea. And then make it happen, for real. If you need a push, a bit of encouragement, this is going to be that for you. No more excuses. It’s no shocker that this life is way too short to sit back and think “what if” or wonder what could have been. I believe in you, you can do anything your heart desires and your mind is set on.
Go backpacking in a country you’ve never been to. Take a salsa dancing class with a random partner. Look up a Thai restaurant and try the weirdest thing on the menu. Try a new hobby, like making sushi in your kitchen or knitting or rock climbing. Change your major from what’s ‘practical’ to what you are actually passionate about, without thinking of the financials, the risks, the time involved. Go on a date with that one guy you said wasn’t your type. Send your writing in for possible publication. Learn a new language. Apply for that business loan so you can open up the coffee shop you’ve always wanted to open. Bungee jump. Sky dive. Swim with sharks. Get a tattoo. Apply for your dream job, even if you’re underqualified. Or even quit your job now, if you hate it. Find one that makes you happy instead, who cares about the pay. Sing at an open mic night. Start the blog or clothing line you’ve always dreamed of starting. Whatever scares you the most, whatever fear or failure or anything else has held you back from doing – do it.
Because why the fuck not?
And because you’ll be much happier having a story or experience to tell rather than always wondering “what if.”
P.S. I’m working a post all about my trip to South Africa (pictures included!) so stay tuned 🙂