I was excited to wear this dress to church this a.m. as I hadn’t been able to fit into it (or the required long-form strapless bra) for a good while. It was actually a little big on top…not that I’m boasting or anything.
While my annual list of 25 (or 50) things to do each year changes quite a bit from year to year—I haven’t wanted to “meet Matthew McConaughey in a meaningful way” for quite a while now—some things are on the list from year to year. One such thing is “Do something that scares me,” which can be counted on to show up at least three, and this year five times, on the list.
These challenges are not all the same encompassing everything from “drink a smoothie made with kale” to “quit my post at church as a mentor” to “join a gym.” While the range of scary acts ranges from not-so-serious to somewhat serious to life changing they all have one thing in common: they take me out of my comfort zone. Quitting my mentoring post—because I knew I wasn’t giving it the time it deserves—was scary because I felt like I was letting down someone who I respect incredibly. And as the girl who always says yes to volunteering, it felt odd to say ‘no.” The kale smoothie wasn’t as serious, but still, it asked the question of how much I was willing to change my eating habits to lose weight, which ultimately means drawing attention to myself that I don’t quite know how to handle.
I was powerfully reminded of “stepping out of my comfort zone” last week when I was quite literally uncomfortable. As I trudged through my neighborhood on Day One (and two and three) of my Couch to 5K workout, each and every single part of my physical self protested. Though I’m pretty good at aerobics, I in no way, shape, or form excel at running—even if it’s only for 60 seconds at a time. I mean I have lost 50+ pounds, but I’m also bottom-heavy so there’s a whole lotta jiggling, quaking, and jello-ing going on down there when I increase my speed from walk to just the merest hint of a jog. And it’s not just uncomfortable, it feels downright embarrassing. So much so that I have to make sure I get my workout in before 7 or else there will be too many people outside who might see me galumphing along.
I did notice, however, a curious thing on Day Two and Three. Sure I was moving like molasses as I set out, my chest constricting, my legs wondering what the heck was going on. But by the middle of the program, when I felt my body moving in sync as I jogged, I felt like I was flying. I understood for the first time ever why people enjoy running. I don’t know if I’ll become a runner per se, but I’d never have even have had the opportunity to even consider it if I wasn’t willing to risk those moments of uncomfortableness.
Yes, stepping—and jogging—outside of your comfort zone is embarrassing and butterfly-inducing. But it’s also life-giving and forward-moving. Sounds worth it to me.