Tiptoeing outside the perimeter of my comfort zone

I have a narrow comfort zone. It has enough room for my couch with an annex for my office (preferably with the door closed). I like to spend a lot of time in this zone. But being comfortable is not inspiring. Every once in a while, when the well is dry and I have nothing to write about other than my high score on Mario Kart, I’ll get brave enough to try something uncomfortable.

For you, trying something uncomfortable might mean jumping out of an airplane or traveling to a foreign country by yourself. For me, uncomfortable is never that far away. I consider shopping at an unfamiliar Trader Joe’s to be uncomfortable.

My husband is less chicken when it comes to trying things or going places that he’s never been. He’s climbed two of the tallest peaks in Northern California with only a few pints of water and a peanut butter sandwich in his backpack. He once danced with our daughter on stage in front of the school during a class concert. He thinks nothing of going to a foreign Trader Joes.

Through him, I am sometimes encouraged to push the limits of comfort. I never intend to climb a mountain, but I have kayaked, skiied, hiked, and attended social events that took place way outside of the zone.

Obviously, the positive side effect of being uncomfortable is having something to write about. That’s why I am sort of, kind of doing Script Frenzy (so uncomfortable! it burns!). That’s why sometimes I volunteer to work at the food bank with a group of strangers or offer to host a dinner despite my hosting anxiety or agree to walk in a parade with a bunch of baton-twirling second graders (wow, that hurts just to think about). Trivial things, but any departure from the ho-hum revs up the creativity that has gone dormant during those weeks in the zone.

Maybe this weekend I’ll check out the Trader Joe’s in Mountan View. Dare me?

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3 responses to “Tiptoeing outside the perimeter of my comfort zone

  1. I always tell myself that the 5 minute travel time for me to go somewhere else to write with free wi-fi (Panera Bread, etc.) is not worth it, and that if I stay home to write, I’ll get more time to write.

    This is NEVER the case. Getting out to write somewhere else is so much more inspiring and productive! Have fun at TJs!

    • I do the same thing. I often think of going to the coffee shop and then think about how much more comfortable I am here in my house. I can wear slippers! But then I don’t get very much writing done with all the distractions.

  2. Heck, yes, I dare you!

    However, I would also like to say that the idea of your husband dancing with your daughter onstage is extremely sweet. She must have been so proud.