Yes, you. When was the last time you did so? I asked myself as I typed the question, and quite frankly this time it bounced back with answers! But let’s start with defining the “comfort zone”. What do you count as your comfort zone? Where’s that little cosy spot that shields you from doing crazy things, or even try a new dish at your favorite restaurant?
You know what, let’s reverse engineer this question. What is the one thing that you cannot imagine yourself doing? To make things easier, it could be sleeping in the same room with a cockroach, giving a public speech, dining alone, or even wearing red lipstick “wearing your shirt upside-down for the boys :P”, or riding a rollercoaster! Now think of how you feel in the moment you are doing it. Stomach pain, discomfort, a rush of adrenaline? My comfort zone is the place where I revert to after facing a situation where my comfort zone has been compromised, the place where I just slack and stay in the little comforting bubble I created for myself. The feeling I get when thinking about leaving it, is definitely anxiety.
Late last year my sister asked me about my highlights of 2018, and it was depressing, literally, to reflect and realize that 20% was worth remembering. And then it hit me, I was living half a life that year. I don’t want to live half a life. I don’t like living half a life. Well, I blame it a little on work, but I blame it a lot on the fact that I did not deliberately push myself out of my comfort zone. And since then, December 2018, I made myself a promise that I will try to live my life to the fullest. And not the cheesy stuff you see in movies, but rather really be mindful about every day and indulge in new experiences.
The biggest leap I took out of my comfort zone post that decision was travelling to India solo. I had set an intention to carry me through the trip “Open heart. Open mind”. And you know what happens outside of our comfort zones? MAGIC. I wanted to try everything I could put my hands on and consciously go against my comfort. First of all, I went somewhere tropical – which I normally try to avoid, I walked barefoot everywhere– I wear socks at home, medicated with onion-based oil – well you can imagine the smell, and embraced all the little bits that I previously considered a no-zone for me. It may sound very trivial; however, it was very significant to Huda. India signifies the beginning of a journey I embarked towards stretching my comfort zone and making sure I live a full colorful life; it will always hold a very special place in my heart (story for another time).
Although all of what I am saying above is to completely discard your comfort zone and how boring it can be, comfort zones are actually good. When things get rough, you can always count on your little comfort zone as refuge. They are a wonderful place to be in to completely recharge and fuel for your next adventure, no matter how big or small.
The butter (bottom line in Arabic culture)? We all need to step out of our comfort zone at some point or another. So please go ahead and do the first thing that pops in your head – or second – and experience the giggly feeling on the outskirts of comfort zones. Because I cannot imagine living life on the safe side with nothing itching my heart, can you?
Disclaimer: please do not do life endangering activities in the name of stepping out of your comfort zone. Thank you.