In a few short days, we will say goodbye to another year. We humans have a propensity to get nostalgic, as well as hopeful, in the course of ushering in a new year. It’s natural to take the time to look at where we’ve been in the last year and where we are going in the next.
As you go through those mental cycles, I have some food for thought for you. It’s that comfort zones are perishable. All the work we invest in expanding our horizons isn’t permanent. We must tend and nurture them.
When we talk about skills that deteriorate, we typically think of obvious use-it-or-lose-it skills like languages, math, or even muscle memory skills involved in sports. This year though, I’ve come to realize that the adventure comfort zone is just as perishable as any other skill that has been built over time. Neglect is a common culprit. It can also creep in through the disease of comfort. Or, more dramatically, it can take a sudden plummet if you’ve had a traumatic experience.
Whatever the source of the decline, when we lose that ground we become smaller. That regression is tied to fear. Fear is insidious and relentless. It’s always waiting in the wings to take advantage of vulnerability. If we don’t diligently keep it at bay at the edges of our comfort zones, it slips back in. That’s especially true for smaller, less-well-established comfort zones. They are less secure and have less buffer protecting them.
In the process of my personal year-end review, I’ve revisited a couple of my posts related to comfort zones: What is Adventure Travel? and Self Reliance. In looking back, I’m considering the areas I’ve lost ground knowing I’ve gained ground in others. Is that ok? Maybe. My reassurance comes from knowing I’ve traded one comfort zone for another, not sacrificed my adventure comfort zone as a whole. It will take some soul searching to decide which comfort zones are most important to me at this stage of my life. That will allow me to shape my adventures on my terms over the coming year.
Looking back at 2017, what areas of your adventure comfort zone have declined? What will you work to revive in 2018?