Detour around the Comfort Zone

OK – I’ll admit it. I almost forgot. I’ve never lived in the Comfort Zone. Not for 5 minutes my entire life. In nearly every instance, in the last 50 years, when something could have become routine or I could have done whatever it was by rote – I shook it up.

As a kid, I was always challenging myself. Climb a taller tree. Build a bigger fort in the woods. Fly off a higher jump on my bike. Modification after modification – forever tweaking. There always seemed to be another mountain to climb. I would lay in bed in my room at night and dream of big adventures.

Back then I wanted to be an archeologist and lead expeditions to far away place – discovering things yet unseen. Or a journalist, who would travel the world to uncover injustices and report on them so the world would see them and ‘fix it’. Was I an idealist? Sure – but that’s what kids are supposed to be, so they believe they can actually change the world for the better – and then go and do it.

I was the only teenager I knew who had Robert Frost’s ‘The Road Less Traveled’ as a poster on their wall. Back then, I operated without fear and I was only limited by my own imagination. When I went off to college, my parents encouraged more practical pursuits, so I didn’t become either of the things I dreamed about in the dark – turning the shadows on the ceiling into deserts and jungles across the globe.

But I still have always lived my life just beyond what anyone thought was possible, or even prudent. I couldn’t imagine it any other way. But this week I forgot all that. This week, I was down and I forgot that ‘boring’ and ‘routine’ are like poison to me. And that the whole reason I want to go to Spain is because it’s just beyond my reach, right now. That it’s an opportunity to learn and grow. The two things that drive me every moment of every day.

When I wake up in the morning, every morning, I say three mantras. The first is to state what I want in my life. Some of it I have and some of it I don’t yet. The idea that ‘Energy flows where attention goes’. ‘The second is to state those things as though I already have them. And the third is to express gratitude for what I have and all that I want to have.

I’ve done these things for a long time and it grounds me and focuses me for the day. Sometimes I say it out loud while reading it. Sometimes I say it while I drive from memory. It’s like muscle memory. Except this week I didn’t do them one time. I just took more cold medicine when I woke up and went back to sleep. And it wasn’t long before I lost sight of what I am doing and why.

So today, after my Pep talk last night, I made sure that I did my mantras. And I recommitted to focusing on what matters. I took my daughter out for her birthday lunch and a little shopping. And because of that, I thought up a way to solve some of the tougher problems I’ve been encountering with the visa requirements.

But ultimately, getting this visa isn’t the goal. It’s what comes after that matters. I lost sight of that for those 5 minutes. But I remember it now. The archeological dreams I have of spending hours in the circus in Tarragona, or the Alhambra in Granada, or Malaga are a huge part of why I want to live in Spain. None of those place are any where near my current comfort zone – and I’ll choose the detour every time.

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