This past year has definitely been the year that I have gone out of my comfort zone. I’m sure this is the case for many people, particularly over the past couple of months. It’s not necessarily a bad thing; a good challenge can help you grow and discover new things about yourself and the world.
After 14 years living outside of Belfast I am no longer on my own to do things. I switched gears over the past year and I am getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things. And I’m not the only one. Wise Owl Factory is a good example.
Carolyn had not left the United States for 35 years, and her husband, only through work and all arrangements had been made for him. Last fall they came to Ireland and Northern Ireland to visit us and see the sights and they made all the travel arrangements themselves. They had been planning a trip here in one form or another for a couple of years, and finally they were able to do it!
They had their daughter with them and although she has traveled quite a bit, it was still something new for them to experience travel strictly as tourists and not for work. You can read more about their visit on our blog, as well as at The Wise Owl Factory.
Over the past couple of years I’ve been taking one or two classes a year to get out of our village and learn a new skill, such as Japanese calligraphy, book binding, cross stitch, basket weaving, and a little painting. These are all skills that I can also share with the children later on.
Last year I was feeling a bit stuck in the same place so I needed to try something different. The children and I traveled back to my home town of Regina, Canada, and I started walking there when we wanted to go somewhere within a few kilometres. When we returned to Northern Ireland I kept walking and joined an online challenge to keep me motivated.
Then I felt I needed something different instead of just craftiness. When the summer schedule came out at the crescent Arts Centre I signed up for a dance class… I have three left feet and look like a walrus on the best of days, but I did it anyway. The class was small and everyone was in the same boat and out of their comfort zones, too. We had an awesome instructor who was extremely supportive and encouraging.
During the final class there were only five of us there to do a big finale. We were all nerds, but we all gave it a shot and did our best and it was pretty cool. No one else saw it, but we were there and had achieved something. I’ve since signed up for a couple of workshops with the same instructor and it’s improved my self confidence. She’s currently teaching a class online, which means I don’t need to embarrass myself in front of others-an extra bonus!
Last fall I also took the opportunity to try out coastal rowing as something new. In September I took four weeks of lessons indoors that consisted of time on the ergometers as well as circuit training, which resulted in being really stiff for days afterwards. We had three outdoor sessions, one of which was in the absolute pouring down rain and cold and miserable. But when we were out on the water, big waves and white caps aside, it was a lot of fun.
At the end of the month there there was a graduation ceremony and barbecue, which was fun. Many of these two dozen women have signed up to continue rowing. My timing was way off though, and only a week after my application had been submitted and I’d paid my membership everything was shut down due to social distancing so I haven’t yet been out this year.
I’m not sure that it’s only me trying new things. The coastal rowers consist of 65%, women and most of them are in their 40s and 50s.
It’s good for children to see parents challenge themselves, having fun, and feeling refreshed. I hope that trying new things and being adventurous will be encouraging for everyone in the household.
Now what am I going to do this year to challenge myself, I’m not quite sure, given the current circumstances, but I will continue with these new skills and improve upon them when I’m able.
Perhaps the end of 2020 will see me in better shape and better confidence, and hopefully I will have a way to become less stressed and more relaxed and able to enjoy life with my family with renewed energy as I continue walking, dancing, and painting.
What have you done recently to get out of your comfort zone? Let me know So that I can get ideas for next year!