Crush Your Comfort Zone and Live Longer (Sorta)

Ever heard the saying, Life starts outside your comfort zone?

Totally cliche, I know, but also totally true. Weird how that works, right?

I have been in a rut for the last, oh, four months. (Have you guys noticed?) There was a lot of stuff in flux, a lot of transitions and things to get used to. I felt like I had quite enough on my plate, thank you very much, what with moving, finding a new job, adjusting to a new city, etc. And so I let myself fall into a routine. It wasn’t a good routine, but it was a routine. And I stayed there.

And I stayed there.

And I was still there until a couple of days ago, when I realized how bloody miserable it was making me.

I read somewhere a while ago that something like 70% of our experiential life happens before we’re 40. So people looking back on their lives felt like it took the longest to get to 40, and then swoosh, they were 70. Or 80. If you have a lot of existential angst, like me, that is probably absolutely terrifying to you.

My theory as to why this would be is that you have a lot of new experiences when you are in your youth: graduating high school, going to university (or not), falling in love, getting a job, losing a job, getting a pet, buying a house, renting a place for the first time, having a baby, having another baby, choosing not to have a baby, traveling to new and exciting places, starting a business. Of course these things can also happen after you’re 40. But by that time, it is more of a challenge to seek out new experiences as we go to the same jobs, deal with the same people, drive the same routes, etc.

Time seems to stretch when we are experiencing new things, perhaps because our brains have to actually engage with it, they aren’t just relying on the same old pathways to do the same old things. But whatever the reason, the tendency is for new things to seem like they last a lot longer than familiar things.

Even more of a reason to step outside your comfort zone: so you can feel like you’re living longer!

So a few days ago, when I had my miserable epiphany, I decided that some things needed to change, and all of these changes were going to stem from the idea that I needed to get outside of my comfort zone:

  • I bought the intro pass to a yoga place less than a ten minute walk from our apartment. I love yoga with a deep and abiding passion, but I have not been to a class in three months. Shame on me. I was scared of going to a new studio by myself, but I sucked it up, went on Friday, and oh my lanta, it was the greatest. Yoga, my love, I’m so sorry that I have kept us apart. It will never happen again.
  • I also signed up for the creative writing group at the library. I am quaking in my boots at the thought of walking in there alone tonight, but by golly, I’m going to do it! And I will enjoy it, too.
  • There are a few creative projects that are in the works that are definitely leaps and bounds outside my comfort zone, and I am excited to share details of those when I can!

I have a couple of comfort zone crushing goals that I am going to work on:

  1. Make a yoga friend.
  2. Complete my NaNo novel. Then actually make it into a workable draft.
  3. Cook a meal. From a recipe. That other people will have to eat. Egads.
  4. Paint a picture.

What are you going to do to step outside your comfort zone today?

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Jessica can most often be found with her nose in a book, or writing her newest short story/screenplay/novel, but she also has a passion for travel, child-care & development, psychology, feminism (and other forms of equality), and making the world a better place in general. Email Me