Constraints of a Comfort Zone

I have always been a fan of pushing my own boundaries- reaching out all my resources for information about one thing or another, as awkward as it may be. Starting out with feigned confidence in a new work place. Leaving for the unknown. Yet everyone has a comfort zone, leaving a risk zone often unexplored.

As I prepare to escape for a semester to study art and travel, I have found myself wondering how I can try out some things that I may classify as part of my “risk zone”. As someone who has never found myself in a serious relationship, and barely a casual one, I find that taking romantic, flirty risks often scares me. Yet with so much of the world seeing this as an easy thing, I have found many excuses to how it isn’t me that is avoiding.

Writing these articles is in and of itself a way of taking a risk. Though they could be even more personal, I have always found writing as an outlet for my most personal thoughts. Therefore allowing anyone to read my writing has always felt deeply personal, leaving me feeling exposed and vulnerable.

My hope for the upcoming semester is that I find more time to expose myself to my risk zone. To allow myself to flirt with guys I find cute and not think anything of it. To follow my heart. To write it all down and allow the world to peer into my inner thoughts, whatever the judgement may be.

Old Friends and the Trick to Being Invincible

The summer has continued to prove exciting as I have met up with an old friend, returned to my barn days and rode a horse, and continued my adventure into a life of running by doing the color run.

I always make a point of reaching out to old friends, and as awkward as it can be, it always proves rewarding. I met up with the friend for tacos and we spent the evening catching up and exploring her campus town. Part of maturing, I’ve realized, has a lot to do with discovering your old self as well. Life is not a linear process that everyone must follow, but in fact quite fluid. Life is a universal experience that is lived in different orders, all of them valid. I’ve come to realize that all the things I feel I have missed out on are because I went through a different life stage at that point that most people end up going through later. Everyone misses out on something, and I’m learning to be ok with that. There is no need to be insecure about it or feel the need to catch up. The superiority I cast onto others is not needed.

The color run was great fun and a good reminder to keep up with my running. We finished the 5k in 45 minutes, making sure we got each color fully. Combined with cycling classes, I’ve found great strength and energy in my workouts. It’s so enjoyable to see yourself fail miserably in the beginning, and then be able to look back once you’ve improved. I’ve often be scared to fail, but it is one of the most rewarding experiences. It can make you invincible.

Beyond enjoying my time with others, I have made a point to do things on my own- archery at the local range, kayaking on my own, and sketching at a lake near my house. I often find it intimidating to be on my own, often feeling exposed to the world. Yet again, this feeling becomes empowering once you do it more (and I have much work to do still!)

 

Becoming Happier and Healthier

In a way I’m kind of scared to post this. I’m worried what people will think of me when they see what I looked like at my heaviest. What they will think about the fact that I lost all that weight. The “wow, you look so good” and “you lost weight!” comments echo in my head. I know the intentions behind these comments are well-meaning, but they sting each time I hear them. Comments someone who has stayed a steady weight their whole life never have to hear. I’m proud of myself, don’t get me wrong. But I’m not necessarily proud of the weight loss in and of itself. I’m proud that I learned to enjoy exercise because I enjoy hiking and dancing and being an active person, and I’m proud that I can be a healthier person. I’m proud of the shift to happiness after years of depression that allowed me to break out of my high school habits and into a more active lifestyle. This was who I was in high school. I did not get a lot of mean comments, and all of my friends consistently stated that I was beautiful. I found clothes I liked eventually. I still have a lot of work to do for myself. Its hard to look back like this and constantly think about how high school might have been better if I had just been smaller. But I’ve learned so much from it. It was a physical representation of how much my depression was affecting me. It was still my body. It doesn’t hurt to look back because I hate how I looked. It hurts to look back because I see the joy in peoples eyes to see that I “overcame” how I looked, when in fact they should be joyous to see that I really overcame my depression.

Exploring My Own State: My Trip to Duluth

We often get so caught up in the glamour of jetting off to another country, some tropical destination, that we forget that there is plenty to explore in our own area. This past weekend I took two of my friends (both from out of state) to Duluth, MN to give them a taste of the place I grew up. To my surprise, I found myself looking at my own state with a visitors lens and discovered a new appreciation for Minnesota. The beauty we found here, at Jay Cooke State Park (pictured above), was unexpected and breathtaking. Even with a chill and a slight drizzle, we found inspiring views at every step. I love to travel, and I have every intention of going to another country, but I often forget that its ok to start where you can- to find those hidden gems right where you live.