On being uncomfortable (in a good way)

I want to try out a pattern for this blog where for one post, I use a photo, then for the next, an illustration. I take lots of photos, so this will be a way to put some of the random, pretty ones to use (I have a bit of an obsessive DIY attitude that makes me resistant to actually using a stock photo or anything I didn’t personally create) while also giving me a break in between illustrations, which are more of a challenge and a way for me to practice and refine that skill. So to begin my first illustration, I grabbed my sketchbook, which I conveniently keep in a basket behind the couch. Because, let’s face it…

I love spending time on the couch.

Don’t we all? I mean, if I ranked the activities I truly love doing, sitting on the couch would be pretty low on the list. It doesn’t give me any reward or sense of fulfillment compared to going to yoga class or visiting family or working on a creative project of some sort (although there are many creative projects that can be done from the couch). But sitting on the couch is comfortable.

How much of our time do we spend being comfortable?

The answer to that question varies for each one of us. Your comfort zone might not be as literally comfortable as a couch. Maybe you’ve had the same job for years, or you visit the same place for vacation every summer, or you hang out with the same friends and go to the same workout class every Tuesday night. When is the last time you tried something new?

I’m not trying to get existential here, but it’s often true that we stay in our comfort zones far more than we leave them. The word “uncomfortable” is typically only seen in a negative light, but in many situations it can be a very positive feeling. Think of the last time you experienced something really fun, new, different, unexpected. Riding a roller coaster, having a conversation with a friendly stranger, accomplishing something that you were really convinced you couldn’t do. The initial emotion you experienced in all of these situations was probably discomfort, then exhilaration.

So when 6:15pm rolled around yesterday and I had the choice to head to yoga class when I hadn’t gone in a month, or stay at home on the couch, I thought about this post I wanted to write. And I chose yoga class. And when the instructor cheerily told us to drag our mats to the wall for six rounds of handstands, I was happy to oblige. And when my whole body felt like a wet noodle as I held that sixth handstand, I was really glad that I wasn’t sitting at home on the couch. So I urge you: be uncomfortable (in a good way) more often. It beats living your life on the couch.

When is the last time you did something that took you out of your comfort zone?

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