Like just about every other type A individual out there, I thrive on routine. Predictability. Comfort. So as I was walking around the block, mind you the exact same route that I always take, with the Ted Talk Radio Hour podcast in my earbuds, I realized that I too was a product of the status quo. There I was, following a known path to a known destination. Familiarity.
And because I am sure the winds of change were nudging me to internalize the importance of getting out of one’s own way, I began to see the subtle hints all around me. The podcast walk was just the tip of the iceberg. For so long I have told and retold myself a narrative about who I am and what I should be, of what I can and cannot do. This internal narrative not only has dictated my own self-doubts and fears, but it has transcended to the periphery, influencing my perceptions of the people surrounding me. I avoid opinions that aren’t my own. I construct assumptions about people’s characters based on their interests and appearances. Unfortunately in this instinctive process, I am sure that I have distanced myself from true understanding and acceptance. For all of these years within my own social life and beyond, I thought that true satisfaction occured within the bounds of the predictable. But now I am beginning to realize that comfort is just a euphemism for stagnation and complacency.
Whenever I experienced discomfort in the past, I backed off and returned to the familiar, mistaking the growing pains for a turn down the wrong path. How many opportunities did I miss because I surrounded them with a wall of I can’t’s? But it is of no use to dwell on my past decisions. Each instance in my life has served me in its own way at a certain point in time, and at this time I know that it is time to cross the line and leave my old ways behind. It’s time for me to leave my footsteps on new terrain, creating a new comfort zone for myself, broadening, expanding. In the moment where I am inevitably greeted by paralyzing fear, I want to retrain myself to react in a different manner. Instead of retracting when I feel uncomfort building up inside, I want to revel in it and smile to myself. In this very moment of terror and fear, I can be resilient and learn to grow.
So far I have braved the freeway and watched a scary movie in the theaters. I am starting small, but my intention is to expand my comfort zone until it is not a small space but a grand area filled with a plethora of unique experiences. And from there I will continue to build and build and build.