“Great things never came from comfort zones”
Roy T Bennet said it, and intellectually I know it, but comfort zones are awfully safe, even if they aren’t always enjoyable.
Growing up a Navy Brat, change was an ever present part of my life: new home, new school, new friends were guaranteed every couple of years. Even when I moved on to college, there was still a lot of change going on. Of course I didn’t like everything about it, but moving meant starting over when things weren’t going well. It meant adding new friends to my life. It meant exploring Hearst Castle and eating lobster rolls and finding jelly fish on the beach and spending Saturday mornings watching the gorillas at the zoo. Every place we lived had something interesting to explore and enjoy. Even when I went off to college I moved a lot – a new place to live every year, a summer spent in Germany, 18 months in Spain.
It wasn’t until Tom and I moved to Denver in 2000 that I began to put down roots and settle into a life that wasn’t transient. When I was young and thinking about marriage, I could only imagine marrying someone in the military and continuing my life on the move. I thought I would never be content to just stay put. But now I quite like being tied to my neighborhood and my longtime friends and having a history with the place I live. I am grateful that I wasn’t limited to my imagination in creating a grownup world.
There is a downside to this stability … over the years I’ve become less open to change. As hard as moving could be, when I was a kid there was always a low level excitement about what was coming next. And what came next might be hard, but it always brought compensating positives. As an adult who is facing the end of yet another stage of my life, I’m much less excited about what is coming next.
It feels weird to be reluctant – like I’m not who I always thought I was. But maybe I’m just more experienced. I know that some changes are like tidal waves – they drown and bury and completely change the landscape of a life. I’ve had a few tidal waves come through and strangely they don’t make small changes feel like “no big deal”. On the contrary, every change feels threatening, even when I know with my brain that it’s not.
But as John Maxwell says, “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” If change is coming anyway, I want to take advantage of it and find the joy and satisfaction that come with effort. So 2019 is my year to move out of a few comfort zones as I figure out what this next part of my life is going to look like. Here’s hoping I can work up a little of that excitement I used to feel when I was a kid!