Wednesday, May 21, 2014

When My Comfort Zone Impedes Me

As I write this, I am sitting in my apartment in a Costa Rica Seminary, where I study Spanish and volunteer (by doing office work and teaching English). So I view it as a little ironic that I'm writing how my comfort zone impedes me, when I'm thousands of miles from my birthplace and family. Yet even here, if I'm not careful, my comfort zone impedes me.

It started out naturally...In the church we attended, I wanted to stay close to my husband so I just went to his Sunday School class. After church, people would ask us questions and my hubby would normally answer. Then people started asking me if I spoke Spanish. (We had been in Costa Rica for 3 months). That was a wake up call for me. I needed to be a little more independent from my hubby. I needed to move to my own Sunday School class and visit more with people.

The thing is, it's easy to adjust to your situation and soon, my outside of my comfort zone became my new comfort zone. I was taking Spanish classes, teaching English classes, working in the office, participating in a women's water aerobics class, and attending my own Sunday School class separate from my husband's. This became my new normal, my new comfort zone.

I rarely visited my husband's Sunday afternoon volleyball games with a local youth group, because I really don't care for playing volleyball. So when I went to watch earlier this week and I got asked again if I spoke Spanish, I realized that I needed to leave my comfort zone once more. (We had been in Costa Rica for 7 months). In my questioner's defense, there was a lot of new American students, just starting to learn Spanish, present. I maybe had attended one game in the past 7 months, since normally after Sunday School, church, and socializing, I was ready to be introverted, read, and relax alone. I found my Sunday afternoon plans to be very relaxing and very fulfilling, but I wasn't connecting with the gals who watched the games, but didn't participate. I wasn't learning the names of the ones who were outside my window every week to play.

So my comfort zone was impeding me. I wasn't being social or forming friendships. I made a decision earlier this week when I got asked if I spoke Spanish. I would start watching the games with the other girls. I would visit, converse, chat, and listen. I would learn their names and learn about them. I would break out from my comfort zone, until at last, my new activities became my new norm.

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