Risks Worth Taking: A Chat About The Comfort Zone

by Lucy Boyland

I wish I could live unattached. I’m always dreaming of living in my own little apartment in a big city, but knowing me, I wouldn’t last three days. I’m so tied to the people in my life that I would never be able to live without them. I can’t escape my comfort zone.

Picturing myself living in a different country, like I’ve always dreamed, scares me. The thought of being an ocean away from the most important people in my life breaks me. I don’t ever want to be that distant. Not only do I want to be here for them, but I also need them to be here for me.

However, I don’t want to look back at my life in twenty years and realize that I limited myself to the familiar. I don’t want my life to be “safe.” I want adventure and independence. I want to be able to tell stories about my experiences that are exciting and interesting.

Ultimately, the thing holding me back is people. If I didn’t hold these people so close to my heart, maybe I’d be able to leave. But I want to hold them close, and I want strong relationships that are hard to be far from. There isn’t any part of me that regrets knowing them or blames them for keeping me here. I love and cherish those people more than anything else in the universe.

If we lived in a perfect world, travel would be free. I could live an ocean away and still be able to come home for every birthday, every holiday, and every other kind of special occasion. But as you know, travel is far from that.

So, what am I supposed to do about this? Do I stay? Do I “bloom where I am planted”? Or do I uproot myself and leave the familiar to pursue adventure? Would I have any regrets if I stayed in my comfort zone? Would those regrets be more crippling than those that I’d have after leaving?

I guess there’s no way to know the answer to any of these questions. I just have to do something – I have to decide what my life is going to look like, or at least what I want it to look like.

Nothing in this world is certain. Nothing is stable or secure. Every day there are risks, and those risks are worth taking. If I live my life in the safety zone, what am I really living for? Sure, I could end up living very comfortably with a wonderful family and a wonderful life in Little Rock, Arkansas. Or, I could pack up a few boxes and move across the ocean to England and be perfectly content there. Or, I could hop on a plane and land in Portland or Seattle, living life in the rainiest cities of America.

There are endless possibilities and endless paths to take. As long as I don’t limit myself because of fear, I’m going to be satisfied with wherever I end up. No matter what happens, I will be full of joy and full of life. Whether that be thirty minutes away from where I live now or thirty hours. I will be happy. I will make the most of my life, wherever I may be.

In order to make things happen for myself, I have to take risks. That is a non-negotiable fact. There is so much to see in the world, so much to do, and if I don’t make myself get out there to experience it, I never will. For some, risk-taking is a regular part of their daily routine. The adrenaline rush is life-giving to them. Running full spring into the unknown is as normal as brushing their teeth in the morning. For me, taking risks is hard. It’s terrifying. I love routine. I love knowing exactly what’s coming next in my life. But life is not about knowing what’s coming next; it’s about challenging yourself to get out of your comfort zone so you can grow.

Maybe you’re a risk-taker, and your comfort zone is all about the unfamiliar. Challenge yourself to add some structure to your week. Maybe you’re a rule-follower with a to-do list for every day. My challenge for us is to push ourselves to be spontaneous. Get out of the comfort zone. That could mean something crazy, like buying plane tickets tomorrow for a last minute vacation, or it could be something as simple as an unplanned movie night with your friends. Baby steps, friend. Baby steps.

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