Guest Post: Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone

Stepping outside your comfort zone

Today's post comes from a person who is incredibly special to me. Annalisa has been a dear friend for a number of years now, and has been a support more times than I thought possible. She is also a very talented writer and when she asked to guest post I jumped at the chance, so here's her thoughts on overcoming fear. If you'd like to guest post about a topic important to you please email me at ltaitbailey@gmail.com. 


A couple of weeks ago, I found myself standing at the edge of a cliff, peering anxiously down at a reservoir that seemed impossibly far away. Behind me, the boys were encouraging and impatient. “You can do it!” “Think of how good it will feel to say you’ve done it!” “Don’t think about it—Just jump!” As the youngest, shortest, and only female member of the crew, I had been determined to prove myself the bravest. Yet here I was, standing petrified for over fifteen minutes as the boys ran past me to hurl themselves over the edge for their second and third jumps.  My older brother tried to bargain with me: “Okay, I’ll jump before you, and I won’t get out of the water until you jump in after me.” 

I gritted my teeth, clenched my stomach, and hated my shaking knees for betraying my fear. My mind raced in those impossibly long minutes. Come on come on come on come on. My bare feet stayed glued to the rock. I tried inventing a scenario; maybe I could pretend that I had to jump in to save someone I loved. That only made my heart beat faster. I felt the pressure of the boys’ impatience. My thoughts turned to my roommate Liza hundreds of miles away. She was brave enough to bungee off a bridge; couldn’t I muster up the courage to jump off this measly rock? I remembered her life motto: “Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.” I think I had finally found that edge. 




Somehow, kissing a boy for the first time, debating in front of large crowds, boarding that plane headed for a university across the world…I had never been afraid of jumping headfirst into these experiences. Metaphorically diving off cliffs felt much easier than actually leaping off of this rock. And below, my brother was getting tired of treading water waiting for me. I knew there was no logical reason to still be afraid; I knew I should choose thrill over regret, courage over cowardice, life over comfort. And yet, logic was getting me no where. Then, all at once, my brain seemed to shut off. The exhilaration, anxiety, embarrassment, and anticipation became too much to bear. I heard myself yell, “Fuck it!” One, two, three steps, and the rock was gone. Air, water, relief, joy. I surfaced and let out a loud whoop of elation. The boys all cheered, and I felt a surge of pride. I had jumped! 



My comfort zone exists inside my own head. Most of the time, this serves me just fine, but I finally realized that I had to turn off my thoughts in order to leap off that cliff. And in that cold water, I felt dizzyingly full life. Sure, I wish I had said something more eloquent than “Fuck it” as I jumped, but hey—I wasn’t thinking. That’s the best part.