For many of us, the idea of getting outside of our comfort zone is very scary. And rightly so, it isn’t comfortable!
I know because I do it all the time – usually it works, but occasionally it doesn’t. However, the benefits I have gained from jumping right in there far outweigh the downsides.
I hope this article will inspire you to gird your loins and take a leap out of your box by sharing some of the things that my friends and I have done since we retired.
Over the years, I have joked with my family that I’d like to have a Harley Davidson with a pannier on the front and use it to go to the local supermarket.
Last summer, completely out of the blue, my husband bought me a Harley Davidson experience. Two hours on the back of a Harley with a lovely big biker guy – Axel Rod!
I thanked my husband and said I was excited by the prospect – but inside I was thinking, “You fool, how do you think I’m going to sit on a bike for two hours? And do you really think I will be able to dismount at the end of the ride!?”
It took me nearly a year to pluck up the courage to book the ride because all sorts of negative thoughts whirled round my head. My husband convinced me I’d be safe, so off I went.
Am I glad I did it? Yes! The thrum of the bike and the wind in my hair – I mean, round my helmet – was thrilling. The bike was surprisingly comfortable – so much so that I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Now I can say I’ve ridden a Harley and I’ve got the T-shirt.
Talking of T-shirts, there is a lovely little dress shop in a town close by. The first time I went in, the owner was very chatty. She told me that she held a fashion show each year, with customers posing as models, and asked if I would like to model for her.
“Have you seen my muffin top?” I asked. She didn’t deny that I had one but said that customers like to see ‘real’ people wearing the clothes as it gives them confidence to try something new.
So, I strutted my stuff. I can tell you I was very nervous, but the other models – most over 60, like me – were very welcoming and it was fun. I have to say, modelling is not my thing; however, I’m proud I overcame my embarrassment and didn’t worry too much about what other people thought.
The other models had articulated that it would be good if someone described the clothes as the ladies walked along the catwalk (shop floor), so I volunteered!
Compering was something I’d never done before, but I found I really enjoyed myself, and I’ll definitely do it again. (Although, that day, I honestly thought I’d got a stomach infection – I was running to the loo so much!)
Until a couple of years ago, I hadn’t flown on my own – for me, this was well out of my comfort zone. I arranged to go on a knitting week in Spain, the polar opposite to Harley riding!
I felt so grown up as I walked into the airport until I realised I’d forgotten my credit card! It got sorted eventually, but I can’t remember how. This was one occasion when I got out of my comfort zone and stayed there.
As it happened, I had overestimated my physical strength for that adventure. At the time, I was recovering from a condition that resulted in bouts of extreme exhaustion, and though I’d been feeling better, I still wasn’t in top shape.
Consequently, I missed out on many of the activities and felt very sorry for myself. On the plus side, I did travel abroad on my own and now feel confident to do so again.
When I wasn’t asleep, I laughed so much my stomach hurt, met some lovely people, and ate at Dahli’s favourite restaurant in Barcelona.
Just recently, a friend of mine – who is just about the least athletic person you could imagine – decided to abseil down Arundel Castle’s wall. It was for charity, and she was pretty scared, but – you guessed it – she loved the experience and said it gave her such a buzz.
My husband, who in all his working life sat behind a desk, agreed to train to sail with a friend of his. This was right out of his comfort zone, but he persevered and now they go sailing twice a year round the Mediterranean.
We are all, thankfully, very different, and much of what we have done may not even make you bat an eyelid.
But I expect each of you has something you’d like to have a go at. I’d love to hear about it and also the experiences of those of you who have taken the leap already – felt the fear and done it anyway!
What things do you want to do that you know will put you out of your comfort zone? Have you tried any of them already? How did you feel afterwards? Let’s chat below and be an inspiration for others!
Tags Hobbies for Women