In times of hardship we all long for comfort – favourite carb loaded foods, soft blankets, and warm drinks and a book. Until a year or so ago, most of us perhaps thought these things would never end – that comfort would always be at our fingertips. But they are not. The world of late has become scarier – or we have become more aware of the precarious nature of our comfort zone.
But is our comfort zone also well, just perhaps a little boring and confined? Don’t we escape into books to test out another’s discomfort zone? To boldly go where we fear to actually go ourselves? For a few hours we can thrill with the discomforts of a heroine in the past managing her personal hygiene while sharing side glances with a muscly barbarian. Or travel the stars and meet exotic aliens and ignore the coldness of space just beyond the walls of the starship.
We can test ourselves with real life examples. Bear Grylls apparently does early morning runs in the rain, rolling in mud puddles to toughen himself up. (I say apparently since there is absolutely no way I will witness early morning runs!) (unless it’s Jason Momoa). Take a trip to Antarctica with Scott, and marvel at the toughness of surviving on penguin sandwiches and then travelling for months to rescue his crew. (Southern is an epic read). Watch recreated history for how people lived on a farm in 16th Wales with Ruth Goodman.
The human mind and body go better with a challenge. A good one can be hard to find – will you jump out of an aeroplane or try a new to you food? Sometimes it is easy to fob it off with excuses, that we are too old, its too expensive or silly. We can dive back into our books and live another’s life, yearning secretly to do the same. Slump back once again into our Walter Mitty dreams of adventure.
But if this last year has taught us anything, it is that life is precious and can be snatched away. One day it will be too late for you to skydive, to tell someone you love them, to adopt another cat, to smile at a stranger, or to take the path less travelled.
So be brave – go beast mode today and do one little act that you secretly want to do – or even one that scares you. Go do that thing. Your comfort zone will still be there, waiting to welcome you back.
Cindy Tomamichel is a multi-genre author, with her SMP series Druid’s Portal a time travel action adventure romance set in Roman Britain. Short stories of fantasy, scifi and romance can be found on her website, where she blogs on aspects of world building. The Organized Author provides much needed help for authors trying to navigate social media and build an author platform. Doing NaNo this year? Check out her free book NaNoWriMo Ready. Or pick up a copy of the free 30 Organizing Tips for Writers.
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