I've written a lot lately on fear; fear of judgment, fear of extremes of emotion, fear of change... even fear of fear. Comfort zones exist to keep us safe, to preserve our often imperfect status quo. Being afraid of things is healthy, up until the point we become stagnant, stuck, or dissatisfied. When a gap between who we are and who we want to be exists, and begins to grow, we become prone to depression, struggling to fit ourselves in a pigeon hole where we no longer belong - or even where we never really belonged in the first place.
I watch my children play, throwing themselves off furniture, chasing excitement, committing wholeheartedly to risk, to danger, and to potential disaster. 90% of the time they have fun; the rest, they learn some very painful, but often very useful, lessons. Well, most of the time, anyway.
Life is full of crossroads and decisions, and sometimes we are blind to the fact that they're there because of our blinkered approach to staying safe and cosy in the relative warmth of our comfort zones. If you're happy, content, peaceful, that's a beautiful place to be. When you're not, it feels restrictive, constrictive, oppressive, suffocating, and painful. Recently, I asked myself what I could do to feel more excitement, more adrenaline, to live a life that simply felt more, well, alive. The answer, of course, is simple. It's to do something different, maybe in every sphere of my existence. Actions don't need to be wild to be exciting, but they do need to promote change or to pursue difference. Nothing ever changes without change. Sounds simple, right? Simple, yes. Easy? Not so much.
It's often hard to balance our long term goals with our innate and biological desire for short term gratification. Creating a short term satisfaction from the actual pursuit of long term goals is intrinsic to our continuing success and happiness. Sometimes dissatisfaction in one area of our lives can be tempered by pure joy in other areas - for example, sadness in a relationship may be masked by passion in a hobby, or a miserable work life might be disguised by a 'living for the weekend' mentality. But, is that any way to live? Mitigating pain by offsetting it against a joyful compartment of your existence? It's essentially escapism, avoidance; a dance around authenticity, skirting the edges of your own integrity and hiding your own truth from yourself.
When we accept that everything always changes, regardless of our actions, it becomes easier to engage in the process of jumping off into the great unknown. Whether it's a change of house, job, relationship, or beginning a new hobby, pastime or learning a new skill, it's not the first step that's the hardest - it's the process before it all that takes the work and the effort and the heartache. The honesty it requires to commit to change, to face your fears, and then immerse yourself in a new start or challenge, begins within yourself.
Ask why you are afraid, face it head on, open your eyes, accept the adrenaline, and, unblinking, throw yourself into a tomorrow you have the chance to create.