Getting out of my comfort zone
When I teach magazine writing courses, I always encourage students to get outside their comfort zone. Don’t focus only on topics you know. New experiences make for great writing.
I try to take my own advice. I have done so with my work more than my personal life — until I became a mother. It’s like becoming a mother flipped a switch and all of a sudden I’m outside my comfort zone a lot. It actually started with labor and delivery. I am a modest person, but that is not a modest experience.
Since then, I have found myself forced into situations outside my comfort zone. As a stereotypical writer, I am an introvert. I don’t easily strike up conversations with others. I enjoy alone time. But, for my daughter, I do what she needs.
This week brought me outside of my comfort zone in a surprising way. On Monday we headed to story time for babies at our local library. I love the library. I love books. I figured it would be easy for us. Maybe we’d meet some other moms and babies along the way. And while we did, it wasn’t what I expected.
My daughter is an explorer (as I mentioned last week about our adventures at the apple orchard). She is not one to sit on the sidelines like I am. I wanted her to stay in my lap. She wanted to investigate the room, the other babies, the other parents — anything she could. And so I hopped up to get her a few times. I was out of my comfort zone. Going into a group of strangers is not something I enjoy.
But, my daughter enjoyed it. We had a few instances where she balked when I made her sit in my lap. However, she liked the games, the other babies and the play time at the end. I saw a couple of moms who I thought I might have things in common with, but I wasn’t nearly as brave as my baby girl. I didn’t go over to them. I was too outside my comfort zone.
One step at a time. Perhaps next week I’ll strike up a conversation. Perhaps next week I’ll relax a bit more and realize everyone there is with a baby and understands that they just want to explore. I think this will be a great experience for my daughter. She’ll get some more child interaction, which she doesn’t get at home. And I’ll get outside my comfort zone once again. For her, I’ll do just about anything.