Life Experiences and Expanding Your Comfort Zone

AD As I count down to my birthday, there’s lots of other anniversaries that get ticket off and I guess in a way they were life experiences too. Going to university involved stepping that little bit out of my comfort zone and expanding it a bit more. There’s three family birthdays along with my parents wedding anniversary which are all still in my comfort zone. These are followed by things like handing in my dissertation early so that I could have the day off on my birthday (15 years ago on Monday!). There were quite a few other things as I handed in my dissertation, turned 21, finished my uni course and got married in the space of about two weeks. Crazy right and a whole mixed bag on those life experiences, am I right?

I think somewhere in there I also started or continued my temporary job in there too. While I was finishing up in Bedford, a friend of mine was finishing her year abroad. She was studying European Law and as part of her course, she got to study for a year in another country. She’d ended up attending Lund University in Sweden. Now at the time that would have been a big step out of the comfort zone for me but my friend was always very independently minded so I imagine that on the whole she took it in her stride and smashed it out the park. I think the furthest I went as part of my course was the local theatre or maybe London… Chris went to India as part of his youth work course! (He’s always been one to have a bigger comfort zone than me, his zone is definitely filled with a lot more life experiences already!)

I love to travel and really hope that I get to do it more. The transport links here in Denmark are considerably cheaper and more reliable than those in the UK, so the ability to explore a bit further even on a school/nursery day is exciting. I can make it to Roskilde and back in a day. (It’s about 32km/18miles one way and about an hour on the train). Helsingør is about the same time wise so maybe that’s another option one day. (I’m a Shakespeare nerd and supposedly Elsinore in Hamlet is based on Helsingør castle. If you watch Who Do You Think You Are and saw the Judi Dench episode there’s lots about it in that one). So far the furthest adventure with both in nursery/school has been about 5km away, but I think I might throw an adventure in this week coming if there’s the time to. I know not exactly ground breaking but last time I did it – even if it’s just local trips around the city or to other places in Denmark. Both Jaxon and Rex have travelled further afield in their short lives than I did in my first 16 years of life. There’s something about exploring the world that bit more than I’m so pleased we’re in the position to be able to give to the boys. We’ve just got back from Billund (and Legoland) and it was so easy to do on the train (more to follow about that soon). Prior to moving to Copenhagen, I’d never lived outside of about a 3-mile radius from the house I grew up in. (Both Rex and Jaxon have lived in 2 countries now, Jaxon has some extra stamps in his passport which are kind of exciting).

Sometimes for journal prompts you get a question like

“If you could tell your teenage self one piece of advice, what would that be?”

I usually find that my answers are pretty boring but I do think that as a 30-something now, it’s to get out of your comfort zone and take those adventures. You don’t have to be quite as crazy as the Yes Theory lads but try and expand your horizons a bit. Also to take the extra hours at your part-time job so you have the funds to be able to explore a bit more. It’s really not that scary once you get on with it! (I quite like Nate’s explanation on his channel (Kara and Nate).

Blue circle on a square image to show the comfort zone around a person.As the person adds life experiences, so the comfort zone grows into a bigger circle.

A sort of summary is that your comfort zone is made up of the life experiences that you’ve had so far. Sometimes are miles out of your comfort zone (like climbing Everest for instance!) but other things are a little bit out of your comfort zone and so are easier to experience (for instance taking an international flight home by myself or taking the train to Billund with the boys – it was outside my comfort zone but now it’s inside it and feels really easy to do again). So as you add those life experiences, your comfort zone gets bigger and you can deal with the Everests that come along in your path.

So now I’m in my 30s and have the experiences now, I look back and think that past Hannah was a bit wimpy and maybe she should have got some more experiences under her belt. But at the same time I guess my comfort zone was smaller and I needed some other experiences in there before I got to my current big one “move from Bedford to anywhere else in the world”.

So what if you could add some life experiences to your comfort zone? Maybe it’s exploring where you live, or maybe it’s doing something a bit bigger and crazier. Maybe it’s taking an opportunity to experience something different like a journalism internship in London for instance if that’s your thing or maybe it’s figuring out how to “car camp” for the summer and exploring the Scottish Highlands.

So are there little experiences or maybe bigger experiences you would like to add to extend your comfort zone?