There’s a difference between stepping outside your comfort zone, and, intentionally depositing yourself into an undesirable situation; discerning between the two . . . well, that takes practice.
In order to grow, we need to try new things. We need to be open to change, too, but that’s another post. Today I am thinking solely about healthy exploits versus creating chaos for one’s self. There is a difference, I’m sure of it; though I often struggle to find the balance.
I am tough on myself, hands down my worst critic. This bodes in my favor where writing is concerned, as I am usually the first to spot the flaws and weaknesses; however, I’ll often resort to chiding or admonishing myself for my lack of willingness to try new foods or restaurants, or venture further than driving distance.
There is certainly truth in that you will never discover all the world has to offer without first having the courage to experience its offerings. There is also truth in knowing that all the world has to offer isn’t always going to please you. Even more, there is wisdom in knowing yourself, your temperament, your ability or inability to “go with the flow”.
I am no such person. The flow is the direction I am pushing it. Again, I speak strictly in terms of trying new things. This philosophy does not pertain to the Greater aspects in life. Those rest on a scale my fragile mind can only stretch for, never quite grasp.
Anyway . . .
I thrive in structure. Routine. Plans. Schedule. Knowing what is set before me on any given day provides an overall sense of relief. In short, what are you serving? I do not want the “succotash surprise,” but thank you for offering. I’ll have the same thing I had last week because it was delicious and made my stomach smile.
I happen to know many people — many of them wonderful, fantastic beings I am proud to call friend — who would slip a noose around their neck if forced to adopt my modus-vivendi. Take all kinds, I always say. Nature, nurture, or just plain ol’ personal preference, I like things a certain way. I like towels hung so you can best appreciate their patten; I like milk cartons pushed off to one side or the other for maximum refrigerator efficiency; I like leaving the house a smidgen early just in case we hit traffic; I like ordering at least one dish I know will enjoy; I carry protein on me at all times. I am a planner, anticipator, prepared, punctual, perfectionist person. That is me.
Now . . . I married my mirror image.
This means, on some level, there is a part of me — latent perhaps — that yearns for a little adventure, a little of the unknown and unexpected, a little escapade now and then. Did you happen to catch the operative word? It’s little. In small doses being exposed to something “outside my comfort zone” is not only acceptable, but necessary. Never do I want to become one of those people who can’t say yes to things for fear it “might not turn out okay”. And professionally speaking, I need a few of those experiences so I can write about them. Take me to a concert in the park; on a 3 mile hike to the precipice of some gorgeous look-out; let me try your cousin’s experimental quinoa; let’s go sing karaoke. I am up for all that — simultaneously if you like!
I do not, however, want to attend a midnight showing of ridiculously popular movie, where I am certain to ingest exorbitant amounts of CO2, have zero arm and leg space, miss half the movie because people are talking or texting, and also because the guy in front of me is 6’7 and there are no other spots in the theater to sit. No. No, no. no. I will wait; a week, maybe two, when I can enjoy the big screen without the big pain. Does this make me rigid and square? If it does, find me a Dutch door and I’ll fit right in!
Throughout life you will meet people, delightful people, who just don’t see things the way you do. It does not mean you can’t be friends or enjoy one another’s company. Heck, I married one of those people; but no one knows me like I know me. I am responsible for my happiness. And in order to ensure I am a happy, well adjusted person I need to figure out what works for me.
Trust your instincts; don’t succumb to peer pressure for fear someone will think less of you, think you high-strung, boring, drab, difficult, and obstinate. There is another side to that coin. And surely I can think of a dozen unflattering adjectives to describe that certain demeanor.
Only small minds find cause for disdaining and criticizing what is dissimilar.
Instead, I shall appreciate the differences, be open the possibility of something new, put myself into adventure’s hand from time-to-time. At the end of the day, though, I still prefer popcorn and a movie in bed to the bar scene. I still like arriving at the restaurant at 6 to avoid waiting 90 minutes at 8. I want to go to bed early so I can wake up early.
This quote — and a recent event in which I was reminded why moderation in everything is sublime — inspired these thoughts I’ve shared today: “Accept everything about yourself – I mean everything, You are you and that is the beginning and the end – no apologies, no regrets.” ~ Henry. A. Kissinger.
Well said, Hank.
I am me. I cannot change that, nor should I want to. And neither should anyone.
Hope you are well, my friends.