Everyone knows the value of getting out of the comfort zone, right? There’s no growth in comfort, right? Well, I am totally on board with this idea. I think comfort and contentment is the antithesis of progress. There’s something to be said about being content with who you are and what you have at this very moment, but at the same time placing a value on growth.
I have many goals in life, but if I had to choose just one: never stop growing.
It’s kind of a big deal to me. If I’m the same exact person I was the week prior, I’m not living the way I’d like.
And so, with this — back to the being uncomfortable idea. I really believe that the easiest, most direct way for me — personally — to grow is to put myself into situations that make me uncomfortable. The potential for growth once I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone sky rockets. Surely, not every uncomfortable situation is a growing opportunity, but also maybe they are.
Luckily for me, that’s a whole lot of situations. Anxiety has always made sure that was fact. I’m afraid of most things and most people. Most situations make me uncomfortable on some level. For real.
With that said, I’ve been pushing myself into uncomfortable situations my whole adult life. And little by little, I’ve found situations to get a little less uncomfortable and a little more fun. Little by little I grow from these uncomfortable situations. Because what is there else to do, really?
Somewhere in the hills.
That one time in Bosnia.
We were driving from Mostar to Sarajevo (in Bosnia). We wanted to take a more scenic route and used the map to guide us. Unfortunately the roads in Bosnia are pretty rough — what looks like a major highway on a map turned out to be a thin muddy dirt road on the side of the Bosnian mountain forest. As our little Heeheetka slowly made it’s way across, making a loud thump here and there — my heart began to race. This time we’re actually going to get stuck (we already had a flat tire that temporarily paused us). There’s no knowing where this road ends and the beginning is many kilometers away. We’re going to get stuck.
Looking back at it, I’m honestly not sure why I was freaking out so much. I wasn’t alone. It was day time (usually something that soothes my beast). And we weren’t even stuck yet.
As we trudged along, not knowing when this road will end, we saw a couple of headlights coming towards us. This is a two way street. Seriously?! A big old (literally) truck was making it’s way towards us. And there was no way in hell, both of our vehicles were going to fit. One would definitely be going down the ledge to the rushing water below. The guys driving the truck all but said we’d better turn around — the road wasn’t about to get any easier… So we did just that. What seems like an easy feat on any other road — turning around on a small road cliff of a muddy af road is a-whole-nother story. Inching one way and than the other, the three point turn — turned 10. And back we went.
Seriously. Even though we had to back track a bit, we were finally going to get the fuck off of this road. This major road.
I think that was one of the most uncomfortable moments I’ve had so far. That and the flat tire. Oh, and riding on a motor bike through Taiwanese mountains. That was pretty uncomfortable too.
Thinking and writing about this now — almost a week later (what feels like forever) –it doesn’t even sound that bad. It was exciting, actually. Once we turned around there was another car headed towards us.
Can you picture it?
We’re in our little white Fiat 500 on a muddy dirt road fit for one-way traffic at best, on the side of a Bosnian mountain and water rushing across some rocks down below. There’s an old truck inching forward behind us as another car — some sort of regular non-SUV type car — pulls up with their headlights turned in our direction. Did I mention this was an orange line on the map? Like a major road. Not a tiny white line indicating a small back road or something of that nature. It’s humorous.
Here’s a few clips from my Insta-stories from the Bosnian traffic jam.
So wth am I trying to say here?
I’m saying — learn to get a little uncomfortable every now and then. There’s no way I’d volunteer to be in discomfort all the time. That’s crazy talk. Even for me. But I’m pretty sure getting uncomfortable here and there would benefit us all.
Better yet, when we do find ourselves in the midst of discomfort — learn to lean into it rather than try to get rid of it. Whether you’re in the middle of a Bosnian forest in the midst of the strangest traffic jam ever or shoved in the middle of a jam packed subway train (god, I miss NYC) — learning to appreciate it, I think, helps us to appreciate life and all of it’s marvelous experiences.
Everyone will have their own way of going about this. Personally, I enjoy a good sparring session and diving deep into some emotional shit during my asana. Then of course the uncomfortable situations that travel comes with. But there’s no set way to get out of your comfort zone.
I’ve been homesick quite a bit lately. Although I think today’s Gilmore Girls binge session helped make me feel better — yes, a little less uncomfortable. Every time, I’ve thought of ways to distract myself from thinking about home. Instead, recently I’ve been leaning into the homesickness. Reminiscing and dreaming about NYC. I think I really needed to do that. Come tomorrow, I’ll be ready to get my adventure on.