I’m sure you’ve heard about getting outside of your comfort zone. It’s where you learn, stretch, grow. I’ve often thought of Bilbo’s famous quote when I hear it, “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” That’s the stretch part. But where is the grow part?
It might have something to do with middle age. I’ve hit several walls lately and done some very mid-life-crisis-y things. I bought a convertible sports car, told an important person (with power over me) he is a #%$&@ dick, and in general care less about pleasing others. Very mid-lifey, as I said.
What I’ve also done a lot of lately is go outside what I thought was my comfort zone. I went to watch a volcano erupt and take video of it from a quadcopter. I traveled more , in country. I changed jobs. I picked up hobbies I’d been interested in for decades, but never pursued. I surfed for the first time last year. I started a novel, several short stories, wrote a treatment for a documentary film. Doesn’t matter if I succeed. I wanted to do it so I did.
I think, however, that the term, “stepping outside your comfort zone” is mistaken. I realized that, as I did these things, I was not uncomfortable with any of them. I was, indeed, comfortable with all of them. I just felt constricted to the role I had and played. People step outside their established roles, the ones that others put them in, not their comfort zones.
All they need is confidence, good friends, and a lot less fear. Call it midlife crisis if you want. I don’t mind.