Monday, December 3, 2012

Of Comfort Zones and Asia

I’ve been on this kick lately of doing things out of my comfort zone. I’m a creature of habit … some might identify me as a bit obsessive … and for so many years of my life, I was fearful of breaking my routines. I’d rather stick to what I knew instead of trying something new. I’d run the same routes instead of going exploring. I’d stay home and hang out rather than accept an invite out with friends and folks I didn’t know. You know that scene in a Christmas Story where Ralphie’s brother has the snowsuit on? That’s a visual of how overprotective I was.

The metaphorical me

I could take on the physical challenge of races and the mental challenges of work. But I never challenged myself to be social, spontaneous and adventurous. Many of my friends and the people who know me now would never believe how much social anxiety I struggled with for a long time. And still do. But on this new kick – try something new, meet new people, branch out, be visible - I’m pushing myself against my introvert instinct. I’m biting the bullet, taking some risks. And damn, it’s paying off!

I think it started back this summer when I decided to return to triathlons. A different world than the marathon team I’d worked with for five years. Knew a few folks, but not many. And joining up with a team that had a large alumni base and a cohesive staff made me anxious. Turns out, they could not have taken me in more warmly and with such open arms.

And it’s been through this group of folks I’ve done some cool things with – Saturday night at the Trampoline Gym, yes please – and have gotten more comfortable just striking up conversations. I am not the type of person to walk up to someone and introduce myself … but I do that now. That’s a little victory!

At Play! Jason, in blue and who is blocking me, is partly responsible for this post - in a good way!

So all of this newness and fun has fueled me to take another risk, per se. Again, pushing back that comfort zone, or rather, ripping its face right off …

Comfort zone, meet your destroyer

I signed up for the Great Wall Marathon in May 2013. My friends Jason (above) and Karen, along with others, are heading there to run the race. They’d mentioned it to me a while back and said I should join. At the time I agreed. Also, at the time, I was holding a glass of tequila. So, my brain was on backwards. But Karen sent me the info Sunday and I read it. My mom and I chatted, and she was really supportive. Dad, consider reading this my breaking the news to you :)

I’ve been out of the country once, to Italy. I have always wanted to go to Asia, but never thought I’d go do it. Because that’s not me. That’s not my life.

But now it is. And then I get this high off of realizing, I get to make my life the way I want it. I’m blessed with that freedom. And, hell, I’m going to have as much fun as I can, make as many friends as I can, run as many miles as I can and love it all as hard as I can – because, as they say, you can take a day off but you can’t put it back on.

For as active as I am as a person, I finally feel like I am living life actively.


giraffy said...

I've heard great things about China. It's a great choice - I can't think of anything funner when traveling :)

Elisabeth Waller-Scott said...

You guys were going to have so much fun. Asia is amazing and that marathon looks equal parts crazy and fun. So glad you're on the ironteam this year. Happy to call you coach and teammate. :)

Maura Mc said...

You're awesome. That is all.