Yesterday, I went to my favorite bookstore cafe to sit at my favorite table and do some work. Only to discover that not only was my table taken, ALL of the tables near plug outlets were taken. So I wandered, aimlessly, for about ten minutes hoping someone would leave. They didn’t, so I did. All because, truth be told, I couldn’t have my table.
And after my cafe ride home, I came to realize that maybe I hadn’t grown up so much after all. Just that morning, at the babysitter’s house, my son had thrown a mini tantrum because one of his friends had taken his train from his hands. And while his tantrum was far more vocal than mine, walking out of the store was my own little protest. I couldn’t have what I wanted, so I left. Not that they cared…they had a full cafe, after all.
I am, most decidedly, a creature of habit. I order the same things at restaurants. I sit in the same table at the same cafe when I want to escape the house. I get fixated on favorite snacks and can eat them for days. (Popcorn anyone? Best nighttime snack ever.) And as a parent, routine is King in the household. Meal times, nap time, bed time… much of the world revolves around the schedule of a child. (And as he gets older, I imagine it will become more so, just filled with other events like sports and activities.)
Before long, tomorrow looks just like today which looked just like yesterday. If you aren’t careful, that comfort zone can become a little too comfortable. It can be easy to get stuck in a rut, especially when routine is such a big part of your life. If I allow myself to get too settled within my current comfort zone — what I do each day, how I think about what I’m doing, then the things that will help me to grow as a person also become stifled. The chances I take, the risks I allow become weighed by what fits inside my zone.
Our comfort zones connect directly to our dreams, to our goals. To what we want in life. In order to grow, to change with life, you have to move outside of your current world. Your current comfort zone has to start to feel a little less comforting. And ultimately, you have to be able to see what your dream looks like and what it will take to achieve that specific goal. Just like we plot out the lines of our stories and the schedules of our children, we have to plot ourselves out of the familiar, as well.
So mama writer to mama writer, I ask you… what goal or dream do you have right now that would take you out of your comfort zone? Is it getting a job? Quitting a job? Finishing a book? Maybe it’s just getting a pedicure once a month. Or having a weekend trip with the girls. It doesn’t have to big or small, it just has to meet your dream, for you. Not for your children, your husband, your boss… Yours. Whatever it is, give yourself ten (or fifty) minutes to daydream about what it looks like. Picture yourself in the middle of that dream. And then figure out the steps from where you are now to that dream… make them baby steps if you need to, but plot out your goal.
Got it? Now take a baby step.
I made the decision to do this in a few areas of my life recently… I’ve got my dreams, I’ve plotted out how to get there, and now I’m on the road. It’s definitely not comfortable, but it does feel absolutely right. And I think tomorrow, when I go to my favorite bookstore cafe, I’ll sit in a different table. (Baby steps.)