Ye Olde Comforte Zone

You can’t spell “routine” without r-u-t.


I’ve honed my daily routine to such a fine degree that when I step back to examine it, it looks almost comical. On weekdays, I have my mornings timed nearly down to the minute. My wake-up times and bedtimes don’t vary much between weekdays and weekends. I run on a regular basis, and I love it, but when asked recently what else I do for fun, I… floundered.


I’ve become a boring person. Oh dear.


I dwell in my comfort zone. The thing is, comfort zones need puncturing every once in a while. While my routine is oh-so-comfortable, it doesn’t really get me anywhere. Prosperity doesn’t equal growth, and I want to grow. The itch I feel to stretch, pull and strain those comfort zone limits has progressed from mosquito bite-level to poison oak rash.


And isn’t summertime made for that? For adventure? Kids go to summer camp to meet new people, see new things, learn new skills, and develop new interests. Grown-ups go on vacation and happily let go of their usual routine, but how often do we really push/break out of our comfort zones in those situations? What do we do, order a cocktail we’ve never tried before? Whoa. Slow down.


Grown-ups have just as much of a right as kids do to meet new people, see new things, learn new skills, and develop new interests. Summer is great for this simply because of the weather and longer days. Possibilities for “comfort zone challenges” are endless: training for a first marathon. Introducing yourself to any sport, running or otherwise. Going on a camping road trip. Finally mastering that grill you got last spring. The sky is the limit!


I always say that I love trying new things. I want to act more on that. I want to make myself more open to new ideas and suggestions that Routine Shannon would shrink from and/or laugh at, saying, “Yeah, RIGHT.” Maybe even do things that downright freak Routine Shannon out just a little.


Maybe it was climbing a fourteener that kindled a little adventurous spark in my belly, but I’ve started taking baby steps of boldness. On a hike last weekend, I met a guy who gave me his phone number, and I actually called him the next day. My friend Courtney has been inviting me to come to a hot yoga class with her, and this Saturday I’m going to go.  Eeep! I’m starting to sweat just thinking about it.


Yes, they’re baby steps. But they’re steps!


Comfort zones are lovely. They help us feel secure and safe, and allow us to nestle in the idea that we have our own special, specific place in the world. But if we step out of them, shake the dust off of them, spin them around, and give them a little more room to grow before returning to them… wouldn’t that be even better?


5 thoughts on “Ye Olde Comforte Zone

  1. Looks liek you will be Boring no longer! I’m a big fan of routine. My Dad and I really think it gives good structure to life, but…routine is routine, because sometimes we do some things that are not routine! 😀 I dont think I’ll be climbing any 14s. Oh my.

  2. Nice post! I get pretty rutty myself. I just bought a cheap guitar online and will maybe finally get around to learning how to make nice noises with it (possibly). I hiked Wheeler a few months ago, and my first 14er too! (Elbert, up by Leadville.) Combined with running some half-marathons the last year, I at least feel like I’m doing new things. Healthy things, too, which is a bonus, I guess. It’s all a bit addicting.

    I’m not crazy enough to try a new cocktail, though, I do have my limits. That’s just nuts. 😉

  3. By the way, drop me a line if you’d like to tackle something like La Luz (which I’ve never gotten around to hiking). Always happy to find new friends for that kind of stuff! Reid,

      1. Sounds good! I realize I’m just a virtual voice out of the blue here, so to reassure you I’m a human and not a clever dog or modest attempt at AI :), my last name is Rivenburgh and I’m on facebook, etc. I’m up in Los Alamos. Good luck surviving your busy stretch!

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