I am comfortable living inside my box. When I was in utero, I was inside a closed space, where I was comfortable and warm. Someone else provided for me. After birth, I was well tended to, my parents provided for me and I had all my needs taken care of by want of only a cry, and I was comforted. In my youth, I lived inside a room within a house, a box within a box. My brothers and I had no thought of our needs not being met; we did not ask for much and were comfortable. We were in a category that went under the title comfortable; we were an average family. I went to school, went to college, got a job, got married, bought a house. When moving into our first house, someone joked that the kids come next. On cue, Gabrielle arrived, then Rebecca. Debbie and I were following the script…and we were comfortable within this world.
OMG!!! I could have started a paragraph earlier with a similar story for my father and continued afterward with a paragraph for my kids – Who’s script are we following? Have all of our lives become this repetitious pattern following a predestined path that we are doomed to repeat over and over. Yes, I know…in this pattern, life is safe – no fears, no unknowns and no excitement. We tend to live inside the world we create, within a box, and rarely move to push on the boundaries to expand our world. My wife and I enjoyed eating at a Chinese restaurant, by an award-winning chef that is 30 minutes from our house. People asked us why we had to travel so far away to eat Chinese food, there are places closer. They do not have to join us next time we go. While I like places closer, it gets boring eating at the same places when there are other choices. We do not mind occasionally stepping outside our comfort zones. Rebecca, our shy child, is stepping out of her comfort zone and going to Germany for two weeks. She is uncomfortable going to a country where she barely knows the language, but she likes to travel and this was a great opportunity for her. Go Bec!
We do not live inside of a Bugs Bunny cartoon, where Bugs continually dares a befuddled Yosemite Sam to step over the line and we do it. We have to be cognizant that we are living each day, week, month and year in repetition and with great intentionality making the choices to step outside the routines that define our lives. Easy? Absolutely not! If one is comfortable living that cycle of life, then all is good. It is easy to wait for somebody to tell us what we should do, rather than take initiative and determine the actions required. Many years ago, I had a desire to do some writing and dreamt of becoming a speaker. As the years passed by, I still had the same desire, but no mystical being appeared in front of me to point the way. I needed to step outside of my personal comfort zone to make this happen, which I eventually did by deciding to write a weekly blog and join Toastmasters. I had to take action to move from daydreaming to realization.
Breaking out is done by what John C. Maxwell refers to as intentionality, otherwise we never move out of the rut in our lives. I have talked to people that continually do the same things every day, month after month, year after year, and are not very happy with the repetitive routine…OK, sometimes they outright complain about it. After releasing their feelings and we say goodbye, inevitably their last words are always, “I will see you tomorrow.”