Comfort zones are like warm milk, a cozy blanket, and a lullaby. When life appears hard, scary, or challenging, such zones offer safety and familiarity. But comfort zones also can hold us back from moving into the next stage of life, of learning, of relationships.
As I watch myself and my colleagues move into the aging process, I see us holding back and holding on. Tried and true seems bright and new. Only it is not.I think my 96 year-old mother was quite right when on her death bed she proclaimed, “Let’s be daring. Let’s have an adventure.”
Death—that’s an adventure I doubt any of us are eager to experience. But today, as I ponder the next decade of my life, I’m captured by the idea that a resiliency practice might very well keep my soul—your soul—from inertia, anxiety, emptiness, a lack of vitality, and the boredom of sameness.
Here’s my challenge. There’s an ancient European custom practiced in parts of Spain along the Pyrenees Mountains. Specifically, people are encouraged to do something they have never done before or on the date of their birth and keep it up for a year. That means that for me, on the fifth of every month, I am challenged to do something I have never done before. This is a practice that will require ingenuity, patience, persistence, and discipline.
While I haven’t worked up my courage to do a tandem parachute jump—yet—I started in January to do some activity or have some experience that is foreign to me. Around the fifth of January, I went snowshoeing. Can’t say I had much luck as the snowshoes kept falling off and getting snagged in sticks on the ground BUT—I did it. This month, I signed up and am taking a Pilates reformer class. Yes—I did it on February 5. By February 6, I could hardly move but I will stick it out for at least all four lessons I got with a Groupon ticket.
You get the idea. I’d love to know what “never before” activity or experience might you add on or close to your birth day every month. I’ve got my twin brother John joining me.Keep a log book or journal of the experience. Write me. Tweet me @macdarling. Getting out of our comfort zone begins to strengthen our resiliency muscle.
Here’s to doing something NEW.