Raphael has been urging me to slip out of my Comfort Zone into something more anxiety-generating for some time now. I've been thinking about it a lot lately because the older I get, the smaller the boundaries seem to be getting and I'm bugged by it.
In order to inspire myself, I have compiled a list of people I know who have spent some time out of or at least at the outer limits of their personal Comfort Zones (which may or may not be significantly more roomy than mine).
These people include:
1. my mother - who went back to school to be a teacher after raising two hooligans (also she raised two hooligans, which couldn't have been that comfortable to begin with)
2. my dad - who gave up his mustache to go into the Air Force (and I'm sure enjoyed many additional trips out of his Comfort Zone courtesy of the military that I am unaware of, probably due to their top-secret nature and such)
3. my sister and and her fancy doctor husband Eugene - who are about to produce (if family history is any indication) a hooligan
4. Eugene - who is going to be a doctor (while raising said hooligan)
5. Raphael (whose Comfort Zone appears to encompass several Third World Countries, a handful of volcanoes, making small talk with guerillas, and drinking yak butter tea with sherpas) - who has finally got up the gumption to apply for the UA architecture program at age 33
6. Wingal - who turned family tradition on its head to earn her PhD and is subsequently (and perhaps as a direct result) about to become a whiskey drinker
7. Lila - who ate a bee the other day and also rode in the back of the truck one time
I could go on. But that would put your Comfort Zone at risk of breach, so I'll wrap it up.
My Comfort Zone is pretty narrow. Not much room in there for things like talking to strangers, asking for raises, taking an 8-hour bus ride through Israel alone with no directions and no phone number, teaching middle schoolers how not be looters, hiking up volcanoes, flying, quitting jobs, swimming in icy mountain streams, ordering eggs in Spanish, blogging, whitewater rafting, or summer in Tucson.
I had no plan for this post, and I haven't really learned anything from writing it. But I think I've inadvertantly convinced myself that I needn't be that worried about the upcoming canyon hike with the hordes of mountains lions waiting at the bottom - because as it turns out, all my favorite stories have been generated by extreme anxiety.
Comfort Zone be darned. I'm ready, Mountain Lions. Do your worst. If I'm going down there, I want something great to talk about later. I want to make somebody's list.