Do Something Unexpected: Three Ways I’m Going Out of My Comfort Zone

I’m not a impulsive person. I’m decisive, yes, and when I decide something I hate wasting time fluttering about. If we decide to paint the walls, it’s done by the weekend. If I want to read a book, I’m done by the next day.

I’m also obsessive. I dive headfirst into things and once I’m set on something it’s rather hard for me to pivot. Ask my collab partner that I mentioned in my last post. He can definitely tell you how ridiculous and all consuming my obsessions can get.

But this means that when I get set in my ways, I get set. Change drives anxiety, growth is terrifying, loss is crippling. So if I spend a week, binge reading/writing…well…there is a good chance that is what I will be doing for the next month, and getting out my front door for a change of pace is a struggle of epic proportions.

These aren’t traits that are unique to me, by any extent. Everyone gets stuck in ruts at some point. Some more often, some less, but we all do it. The last few years I’ve been working really hard to take steps to get out of those ruts, to stop letting them define me, and where I’m going in life. So, here are three things I’m doing to get out of my comfort zone. I’d love to hear what yours are!

  1. Eating New Foods: I have always been an enormously picky eater. Cooked vegetables? Nope. Tomatoes? Nope. Anything mildly smooshy or slimy? Heck no. But over the last few years I’ve been working to change that. I’m taking it one step at a time – I can’t handle sushi, so I started with rice balls. Then rice balls with seaweed. Then rice balls with seaweed and cucumber. Tiny, little baby steps. I have to try everything I get a chance to, even if it’s the tiniest bite. It seems like a silly goal, but surprisingly I find it to be a huge boost in confidence when I can say “Yeah! I’ve tried that!”
  2. SkiingThis summer my husband went to buy new ski boots. He’s been skiing since he was knee high, and I had been all of once in my life. Falling terrifies me, and I am always one to avoid potential injury. But while he was trying on different boots, suddenly I realized my mouth was telling him that I wanted to go skiing with him this year. He was thrilled, and we’ve gone 4 times this season already. It’s terrifying, and amazing, and the views are phenomenal. Every time I go is scary, but I still go, because being at the top of the mountain and looking up after, knowing I made it all the way down, is amazing.
  3. Just Going: We’ve lived in California for two years now, and I’ve barely seen any of it. We’ve been making an effort, but my husbands job is a 9-9 and exhausting, so we really only travel on weekends. But today, just today, I asked myself; why can’t I just go? So I am. I’ve booked a hotel in a little town near a beautiful wildlife sanctuary, I’ve packed up my photography gear, and I’m heading out tonight. It’s absolutely liberating.

So many people tell you ‘not to be afraid’, but that’s bull shit. Be afraid. Be anxious. Be whatever you are. Embrace it, examine it, and face it. Just go out, and do something unexpected.

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S.J. Penner

Author of the upcoming series #Tyrant, artist, and inveterate dabbler. Creator of #guiltfreeswag for writers and gamers at Coffee Ink where 100% of proceeds go to Red Cross Emergency Services.

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