Opinions: Hindsight: Outside our comfort zones

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As you can see, my piano has been through quite a bit of music. It’s covered in sharpie and tape to both ends.

I’ve been thinking a lot about taking risks lately. My editor keeps pushing me outside my teenage Eureka experience.

Apparently, I have deeper insight beyond how I need to stop procrastinating or if leggings are pants. My editor claims the world is bigger than that. Every writing conference we have is uncomfortable, making me think about other times I have been uncomfortable.

I remember trying the long jump for the first time in middle school. I felt nervous to try it out because track activities weren’t really my thing. I didn’t think I’d be any good, and did I think I’d get onto the track team for it.

But I took a couple jumps (just for fun), and it turned out that I could jump a good distance. My jumps ranged from 13 to 16 inches which was pretty good for a sixth grade girl. 

I ended up being on the track team for two years competing in the long jump, and I had a lot of fun. I really enjoyed leaping as far as I could into the sand pit. It was also fun getting out of school for the day to go to the meet. If I hadn’t ventured outside of my comfort zone, I wouldn’t have had that fun experience on the track team for those two years. I also wouldn’t have learned that I had a jumping talent, and that I could actually be a part of the team.

We all should make it a habit to leave our comfort zones every once in a while. When we depart from our comfort zones, we open so many doors to new experiences in life.

Two years ago I was offered a piano from my cousin, Kala. She had been given it when she was around 12, and she had no need to keep it anymore.

I had never played a musical instrument before besides the violin in fourth grade. But I happily took the piano and within a week of having it, I could play three different songs.

I taught myself how to play by ear and YouTube videos. And I’m good at it. I love playing the piano, and now I know how to play all of my favorite songs that I hear on the radio. I still have the same piano and continue to teach myself more songs. I love being able to be the one to produce the sounds that make up a song. 

I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I’m somewhat talented when it comes to playing the piano. And again, I never would’ve found that talent if I wouldn’t have gone outside my comfort zone. I didn’t play instruments. I couldn’t read music. But I took the piano anyway. I mean, why not?

Piano has taught me to have a ton of patience. In the beginning, finding the right notes to play would take me a while. And if I’m learning a song, playing it perfectly, all the way through the song takes many tries before I get it right. 

And even if I try something new and I don’t like it, I still went for it. Trying new things teaches us about who we are. Can I run fast? Well I don’t know, and I won’t know until I go and try it.

Leaving our comfort zones is a healthy thing. Could you imagine doing the same exact thing over and over again every day? I can’t. Most of the time I’m open to try new things whether a sport, an extra curricular activity, or even a little thing like trying a new food. 

Now go for it, take a risk. Trust me, it’ll be good for you. It could be the difference between staying at home or going cliff jumping into Lake of the Ozarks.