My best friends (chosen family) do something very interesting each new year. They sit down together, take stock in their lives, and work to create good habits for that year. One of their habits (I really hate the word resolution) is to make a point to do something outside their comfort zone. Their thought pattern has rattled around my head since early January.
Just the other day I announced to my friend that I am boring. Of course her response was “you are anything but boring.” Ok so I may not be boring to the people closest to me, but I feel boring. Not the I’m going to run out and get a sports car boring, or I’m going to climb Kili boring. It’s not about shock factor or the you-did-what factor at all. It’s about challenging myself and making myself feel a bit uncomfortable.
Recently my family traveled to Washington, DC. We were having dinner in a great little spot that had a piano bar upstairs. While we ate we were serenaded by people singing karaoke in the piano bar. There were some incrediby talented people singing who must sing all the time, as well as a few who obviously do not need to quit their day jobs. I sat there joking throughout our dinner that I was going to try my voice at karaoke. My 12 year old and I began to mull over choices for my debut. Should I attempt Beyoncé, or stay with something less booty shaking? Perhaps Elton John would be more my speed, or something classic like Gladys Knight. Knowing full-well that it was just a hypothetical scenario we began to narrow down my choices. Tiny Dancer it was – seeing as how I frequently belt it out in the car! We both had a great laugh at the mere thought of me singing our beloved Sir Elton John!
“Next up, Sally!” I looked around very amused for the other person named Sally when my husband said, “You have been talking about stepping outside of your comfort zone and I thought you needed a little push.” Yeah, off a cliff!!! I was paralyzed. My daughter’s jaw was hanging wide open as I made my way to the microphone. What did I have to lose? Maybe a little dignity. I would never see another soul in this place again!
I’d like to say it was a drop the mic moment. It was awful. I did it though! I sang every lyric proudly. There were some claps and cheers, and NOT from my family. I. Did. It. Thanks to my husband I was exhilarated, and I showed my daughter (and myself) that it is absolutely OK to do something completely out of your comfort zone despite how embarrassing it might be. I did not feel at all boring that night.
Recently I stumbled onto the blog of a former co-worker and discovered that she and her husband had given up the comforts of “home” and purchased an RV. A couple of years ago they took it all over the United States and experienced some amazing things. Of course it wasn’t all glamorous and it was daily life…in an RV…with pets. The key here is that even though it is daily life there is some level of uncertainty. Low and behold they are heading back out for a new journey in 2016. I will be keeping up with their adventures and daily living.
Some message is being sent to me – I’m convinced of it. I happen upon the blog of someone I haven’t even thought about in years, and then I’m hit with the movie trailer for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot over and over again. The BFF and I had added that to our list of movies to see even before I began feeling this tug. I’m not talking about running off to Kabul like Tina Fey’s character, but I feel like I need to be experiencing something more. My personality is one where I need to have security, and know where I am going to lay my head at night. I am a planner, but I should be a little uncomfortable – Tiny Dancer uncomfortable.
I read an interesting article on Cosmopolitan about Shonda Rhimes. If you’ve been living under a rock – Shonda Rhimes is the amazingly talented creator behind Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder. In this article she suggests doing what scares you and celebrating daily. All of this is part of her new book, Year of Yes. Her words in this article are exactly what I am talking about, and what my friends set out to accomplish at the beginning of 2016!
I’m going to try. I can’t promise I’m going to succeed, but I am going to look for opportunities to step out of my comfort zone, do what scares me, and celebrate. My attempts may not equal setting off on the great American RV adventure, or traveling to war-torn countries. Singing my favorite songs in front of complete strangers may be more my type of uncomfortable. Whatever your speed, or your type – I hope YOU feel uncomfortable too.