Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Growth Is Optional
“The lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host, and then a master.” – Khalil Gibran
The rain pounds down on the house in torrents throwing speckled shadows across the walls from gray-lit windows. I can’t help but relax in a state of quiet enjoyment, while watching the pellet stove fire blaze crimson and burnt umber. Solitude is preferable these days after the mad rush of holiday glee and New Year symbolism thrust upon me. Not to mention the changes that wrought themselves into the mix of realism.
Changes you say, surely for the better right? Not if you’re a creature of habit, who likes her comfort zone a little too much.
If we want to get downright literal about what exactly a comfort zone is, the Collins World Dictionary gives this definition – n a situation or position in which a person feels secure, comfortable, or in control. Now why in the world would someone, anyone want to give that up? The self-effacing answer - your comfort can become stagnant to the point of imprisonment, locked in a set of safe guards that block any chance of growth. When we get too comfortable, we stop challenging ourselves, don’t aspire for much, and our boundaries shrink considerably.
Turns out, our prison guard is none other than fear rapping against the bars whenever we consider trying something new or challenging. I’m sadly familiar with my prison guard – me. No one else can step over the boundaries I created for myself or sequester me away from knowledge, want, fortitude and growth. We’re supposed to build safeguards to protect ourselves, not to hinder us from enriching our lives.
The latest computer virus tested the boundaries of my comfort zone like you wouldn’t believe. Favorite programs were outdated and disabled. I had no choice, learn something new or stay locked into a system of fail going nowhere fast. Here’s the thing, as much as I don’t like change, I resent the ‘boxed in and giving up’ option even more. I learned a valuable lesson adapting to my deafness – I own my choices, they’re mine and mine alone to make.
Sometimes the simplest things wreak havoc with our comfort zones. There’s nothing wrong with simple days and moments of contentment, as long as you don’t use those very tools to keep you from moving forward and living in fear of what’s around the corner. Honestly, there are days I’m afraid to walk out the door, I’m afraid of newfangled programs on my laptop, or keeping up with technology, and silence, and love and loss, and yes, there are days words and my ability to wield them frighten me. Fear is an ingrained part of us all; don’t let it be your prison guard. Life is far too short to limit the breadth of your accomplishments.
Today…amid the comfort of a roaring fire, with a warm pup at my feet, I brandished words against my fears. I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone in search of knowledge, life, mystery – the list is endless. Words still scare the hell out of me, but I’m determined to conquer each one in a tableau of prose. You are what you want to be, I’m a writer, I broke out of my comfort zone…did you?
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Image from here.