A couple of nights ago while enjoying a spontaneous visit with a friend, eating ice cream at the top of a lookout point in Huntsville, I was struck with a realization that I have gotten too comfortable.
This evening, which was really quite simple, felt exciting and adventurous, simply because it was unexpected, random, out of the ordinary. It was something a did not do very often anymore.
I was comfortable. I had my routine. I went to work, I came home to my little one-bedroom apartment, I did yoga, I made dinner or ate leftovers, I read. There might be some differences – some days I’d watch a tv show, some days I didn’t do yoga, some days I’d play squash, some days I’d go out for dinner. But none of it was outside of my comfort zone, my little bubble that I’ve gotten nicely settled into. None of it set off that spark within me of untethered possibility, of something you had never imagined.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being comfortable. For awhile I think I needed it because I’d been on the other side for a while, feeling overwhelmed and adventured out. But with school finishing and friends drifting away, I think I’ve swung too far to the opposite side, and missed the mark on balance.
I think of all the things I’d planned on doing, the adventures I’d thought about having. The adventures that never happened.
When I graduated, I was going to drive across Canada by myself. I found a job and never went.
This summer, I was going to take a day off and go on a weekend trip. September is tomorrow and it never happened.
I have a list of new restaurants to try and yet I always seem to go to the same ones.
This isn’t bad. I love staying in reading. I love going to bed early. Living inside of my comfort zone is well comfortable. It’s enjoyable. But it’s also easy and life wasn’t meant to be easy. If we spend our lives comfortably contained in our little bubble, we’ll miss out on a whole world of possibilities. We won’t really live.
My best memories have been the ones outside my comfort zone, the random, unexpected adventures, the times I’ve taken the road less travelled.
I remember trying frog legs for the first time in Bobo.
I remember hiking with my brother in Kelowna, veering way off the path to climb up the mountain on our own trail.
I remember spontaneously extending my trip in Tanzania to plant trees at a school.
I remember having an amazing time the night a friend showed up at my house unexpectedly to drag me out.
Being adventurous doesn’t always come naturally to me. I feel this pull, this feeling of aliveness, within me but I don’t always know how to act on it. Luckily I’ve often had people in my life who help lead me along – family and friends who have adventurousness in their blood.
Your biggest and wildest dreams exist on the other side of that bubble. Living inside your comfort zone, you lose the feeling of dreaming and creating a future that’s different from your past. You lose sight of all the possibilities that you haven’t yet imagined. You lose the awe and wonder that comes with being swept off your feet.
Right now, those people who encourage and nurture the adventurous spirit within me aren’t nearby. So for the next month, two months, six months, maybe even year, I am challenging myself to be more adventurous. Every day, I will do one adventurous, out of the ordinary thing, big or small. I challenge you to do the same. I dare you to dream your wildest dream.
- Starting small, tomorrow I’m going out for dinner and drinks with a friend and I’m going to try a new drink (no settling on a past favourite!).
- Friday, as long as the weather holds out, I’m biking to work. I’ve done it before, but not for months and definitely fell off the bandwagon on the idea to do it regularly.
- Saturday there is a Harvest Market event at the Kitchener Market and I’m going to go and learn how to make different fall stews.
- Sunday, it’s time to explore a new hiking trail.
And the rest, I haven’t decided yet ( I could also use some good ideas 🙂 ). Some will be on a whim, a last minute change of plans; others I’ll plan (like the trip that I never got around to doing). Most importantly, I’ll believe in the possibility of my dreams and let that guide me.
Here’s to adventures, to living outside of our comfort zones, to trying new things, to breaking up routines, and to creating the life of our wildest dreams.