Leaving a Comfort Zone

Each  year I note how the days before Christmas go by far too quickly, hardly giving me time to truly think about the holiday and all it means to me. Each year I have gifts to purchase and wrap, a Christmas poem to write, and family and friends to celebrate with.  I frantically search for a few people who least expect a gift from me and thoroughly enjoy surprising them.  And after all the fast paced shopping, wrapping, partying and well wishing, even the actual day of Christmas happens too fast and is over before I know it.

Yet, the next few days, December 26 – January 31, seem to slow down considerably for me as though someone has put the brakes on time, affording me needed moments to reflect on the previous year before leaving it behind, and to prepare for the new year before entering it.

In reflecting on 2011,  I recall the fun times with my children and  grandchildren, my activities here on Longboat Key, the lobster bake on the beach at Easter, and a spectacular  trip to Spain with Ellen. I feel good about my research and my academic progress, the  blogs I’ve posted, and how I have broadened my circle of friends.  I remember times when I laughed out loud with Ellen and others when I was alone and could not stop the flow of tears.  I can almost feel the pain of last year’s kidney stone and the pain I felt when a friend’s son committed suicide.   Reflecting is a way of reviewing what was and evaluating how I reacted to various challenges.  Reflecting is also the first step to scope out my hopes and goals for the New Year.

Generally I find thoughts about a new year exciting as there are many opportunities to do something differently, to leave my comfort zone, and to stretch myself beyond where I have been.  I have an exciting plan for 2012, an open-ended plan, meaning that I am going to move beyond my comfort zone, but I am not exactly sure  what the end point looks like. I know that I  am leaving my comfort zone,  anticipating some very new experiences.  In the words of Neale Donald  Walsch  “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”.  I am ready, I am excited, and I am nervous!!!

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

A comfort zone by  definition is a good place to be.  For some women staying in their comfort zone is the best place to be because things are familiar, defined, and predictable and they can be at their best within the boundaries of the zone. I, too,  have enjoyed the predictability and familiarity of my  comfort zone these past 12 years.  However,  I feel it is time to get out of mine, to do something different, go somewhere else with my mind,  heart, and soul and use the energy level I was blessed with differently somehow.  Going outside of one’s comfort zone is not for everyone but  a twitch inside of me tells me it is for me.

What about your comfort zone?  Are you enjoying the familiarity and predictability?  If it continues to feel great then it is probably the right place for you.  But if there is even a hint  of a “same-old, same-old” feeling about your life,  perhaps adding something new to your present comfort zone will take care of the feeling.  Or, if the feeling is more than just a hint, and you believe that “life begins at the end of your comfort zone,”  then perhaps it is time for you to consider going beyond it, too.

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