I like thinking. Roaming around in the mind. Daydreaming and fantasizing – yeah I used to do those too – not anymore because I think those two detract me from doing and pursuing. And this is a part of the new me – actualizing my inner vision of my strengths and that which is good in me.
If you’re always on the go – a mover and a shaker – maybe the challenge for you is to get out of your comfort zone and do more reflection, meditation, or just slow down. My challenge is to be more of an activist. Not in a political sense, but in my own life.
After I met the typical western conveyor belt challenges – go to school, get a job, go back and get another degree, get another job, what was left on my checklist was marriage and children. Except those two didn’t “happen” to me.
I realize now I am fully responsible for the course of events in my life and that things don’t just happen – as difficult as it is to accept sometimes. I also realized that I was checking things off a list. Except the list wasn’t mine.
Well, I went into my introspective-depressive mode because the inner world is my zone of comfort. Maybe you, on the other hand, would go on some outward binge of sorts, or build an ark. I go inside. And I would lock myself in your ark if you had built one.
Luckily, I came out. With this little idea to challenge my comfort zone, as well as my concept of happiness. Happiness – it’s a good job with insurance and benefits, new car, house, faithful partner, and children….right? At the time, I didn’t realize that I was expanding my comfort zone. It kind of happened gradually.
Six years ago at the age of 37, I ran my first race – the 2011 Chicago Shamrock Shuffle. Then I decided I should run a half-marathon. Why not. And I did. After that I decided I should go trekking in the Himalaya. Haha. You laugh. I did. Go trekking. Several times now. I have a blog about it here on WordPress in case you’d like to peek: My Trekking Diaries.
I also did several half-marathons finishing my latest just this morning! I made my best time yet, 2:26:44. I was aiming for something slightly better than my 2013 time of 2:31:45. I got a little emotional when I got texted with my time right after I planted my behind to rest on the grass. Now at the age of 43, I am getting faster and stronger. Or maybe more resilient, more focused.
I do credit my CrossFit box’s BootFit program for my better performance. I had to practice my long runs a bit, but after 1 year of BootFit, my legs are super strong compared to my 2013 run. Of course by super strong I mean super for me. Haha.
I even had strength at mile 10 or so to attack a little incline while most people at my pace were walking it. It felt good to have that extra explosiveness at my disposal. That’s your weighted squats, lunges, jump squats, box jumps and such. Yeah, this stuff will make you a better runner.
I had never been a runner though. In fact, I never cared for any sort of physical activity at all. Probably because I am an introspector. I am not an adventurer or a competitor. I don’t even like going outside. Crowded malls give me anxiety. Although I was always one of the top students academically, physical education and activity have been my weakness.
In high school, I couldn’t finish running the mile. I still remember as a child in the first grade in Poland, we were being timed on our short distance runs. I am of average height now, but at the time I was tall-ish. And the teacher said to me, you have such long legs, but you run so slow. Well.
I still run slow. Running is definitely outside of my comfort zone – just as the BootFit program at my CrossFit box is – out of my comfort zone. So why do it. Why push yourself to get out of it. I think I agree with Joe Rogan. It tests us.
Beside testing us, it also prepares us for other uncomfortable situations in our life like tight deadlines, unwanted transitions, or unfavorable changes. By willingly facing the pain of uncomfortable situations in a controlled setting – like CrossFit, or community running events – I become better able to face adversity in other aspects of my life.
The most awesome realization for me is that there is no limit to how many new-you’s we find. It’s a never-ending process. It’s probably accurate to say that every single person will experience a situation or another that they didn’t ask for. How we perceive the challenge is up to us. We can ask – why is this happening to me, make it go away.
Or with focused practice, we can learn to say – I *will* get through this, and I will shake hands with the new me on the other side of this challenge. Passing the baton from the new me, to the next new me. Never holding on. Finding new ways to expand our ever changing comfort zones.