Discover Challenge: Risk: Staying in the Comfort Zone

As I crossed an icy parking lot on my way into the gym one winter morning, looking down watching my every step, a girl maybe 20 years younger than me ran past- ran across the lot – which was full of snow and ice- and all I could think as she ran was about the risk she was taking by running- didn’t she know she could fall- doesn’t she think about it- realize it?  I then thought how freeing it must be to be able to just go about your life and not think about “what could happen” and the “it might happen”, and “what if “happens.

I am not a risk taker. I like to stay in a comfort zone. Know where I am, moving along steadily. That is not to say I don’t engage in learning new things, meeting new people, opening myself up to new things. I just don’t choose to do it by climbing a mountain, walking down an unmarked trail in the woods, bungee jumping off a bridge.

I was fearful as a child- I attribute it to growing up with a mother who was negative, and fearful herself. I was also the oldest, and never allowed to venture too far- something could happen. My mother’s own fear imposed on me. Becoming ingrained in me. Becoming who I would become. Don’t go near the street sewer, you could fall in. Don’t touch the plug socket, you could get electrocuted, watch when you are stepping between the dock & the boat, you could fall into the water, you get the idea.

I married a man who always sees the cup half full not empty, who helped to chip away at those ingrained fears  that kept me from venturing out to try new things. And so I became less afraid of failing, and if I did fail, so what, at least I tried. It was refreshing and liberating to realize that I was capable of things I never thought I could do. He is not a worrier, and helped me realize that my time spent worrying was counter productive, as very often, and most times, whatever I was worrying about never came to pass. But I had grown up learning to worry from all of those things that I had not been allowed to do, was told to stay away from. The fear and worry cycle is a hard one to break.

Enough random things can happen. I do my best to attempt to prevent things from happening that I can prevent- I watch where I am walking when it is icy, I drive carefully and let the speeders go past, I try to keep myself in “safe” surroundings- so have I regressed to the fearful child I was- not willing to take the chance, for fear of what could happen? In many ways, yes I have- but it is now a choice I have made- I know myself, I like feeling safe, I am not a risk taker- it is just not who I am. I fight with myself not to worry- not to sweat the small stuff that I have no control over. But I do live a life of caution- I look before I leap- if I ever do take that leap. There are things we have no control over that will happen, but there are things that maybe we do have control over and can prevent from happening- the girl running over the ice this morning is lucky she did not fall- but I am not willing to take that chance, to run when I can walk- to try to keep myself out of harms way when I can. There are times when I wish I didn’t think so much, wish I could “throw caution to the wind”- but it is hard to change, it is hard to learn a new way “to be.” Maybe someday- someday when I am even older and in a place where the things I feared would happen, haven’t- maybe then.IMG_20150503_083249

25 thoughts on “Discover Challenge: Risk: Staying in the Comfort Zone

  1. You can fly when you are ready. Your mother loved you so much she could not bear to think of anything bad happening. You were so precious to her. That doesnt mean we shoukd carry that attitude. We have choice and we can accept or reject our parents’ values. Run if you want to, walk if you’d rather

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  2. Using common sense doesn’t mean we’re cowardly. It means we’re sensible. The way I look it, aging will do enough damage to my body without me aggressively contributing to the damage. I would have carefully picked my way across that icy parking lot too. Great post!

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  3. Intersesting in that my wife and I share similiar traits, only perhaps to a somewhat greater degree. she basically worries about everything, while I am the risk taker. We are a kind of complementary balance, although neither of us have much success in tempering our repective outlooks. Marty

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  4. I am married to a cautious person and it has sure helped me get through my life without making too many mistakes. There is ying and yang in everything!

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  5. That’s a great path picture.

    I AM a risk taker … but not of life or limb. It’s one thing to try a new job or decide to go in a different professional direction. It’s just DUMB to run on ice sidewalks. You don’t have to be old to break an ankle. I did myself a lot of physical damage when I was young and stupid and I really regret it. It would have been SO easy to use a bit of caution and not damage body.

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  6. i think our upbringing has a very big impact on our psyche. It’s a kind of brainwashing. Rather err on the cautious side than be reckless. It will stand you in good stead especially as you get older, and accidents could have really serious consequences.

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    • I so agree about the upbringing- it has been found that our brains become “wired” or conditioned I suppose by the what is drilled into us as children. Then as adults we need to fight it! I so agree about the accidents- part of why I am so cautious.

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  7. I’m a risk taker in many areas, but in some situations I much rather stay in my comfort zone. I’ll go practically anywhere and try practically anything (within reason and the law), but if you ask me to ‘let go’ and be myself and have a good time in front of others – it’s not going to happen. I shut down, become silenced and still. Social anxiety perhaps? But, I’ll climb a mountain, jump out of a plane and hike unmarked trails any day.

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    • Go you! I am always awed by the ability of people who have no fears- I think it admirable. So interesting that you are self conscious though- usually the fearless are not! We each have our special things about us. 🙂

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      • I can relate to mewhoami’s comment … but it’s not about being fearless (at least in my case). It’s more about an insatiable curiosity.
        The motto my hiking partner tossed at me one day was ‘be afraid, but do it anyway’.

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      • {whispering} fear is not my favourite emotion either 😉

        … but I had 3 older siblings. It’s a wonder I made it to adulthood alive 😉

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  8. I’m with you, I’m no longer a risk taker, I try to be prepared for the worst and I try to calculate with the worst whatever it is, the more I can be happy when it ends well. It’s sad that it needed a smashed bone and permanent pains first, to treat myself a little better…

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  9. Amazing thoughts. We two seem the same in this area, I am not a risk taker and have always been one to in my mind, consider the ‘if I or they did A then B will happen. If that makes sense. Fearful of doing certain things.

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