Out of Our Comfort Zone into Life-Long LearningSep 08, 2022
A few weeks ago, we took our new trailer to the central CA coast. We had a great time overall, but I wouldn’t call it a restful and regenerative trip. We were definitely pushed way out of our comfort zone! It is a habit that we intentionally work on.
We’ve always wanted a travel trailer for lots of reasons, but man is it a huge learning curve! Neither of us have hauled much of anything on the back of our truck, but especially not a 26ft (really 29-30ft total) trailer! Just getting it out of our side driveway took probably 30 min, even with the help of our experienced and wonderful neighbor. The stress was high. There was…”passionate discussion” ;).
Once on the road, the trip down to Pismo Beach was fairly uneventful except when it came to getting gas. Who feels my pain here? Haha! The first place we stopped, we were lucky to get out without taking out our trailer, curbs, concrete poles and the mini-mart. After killing my nerves and another “passionate discussion,” we decided to go to a truck stop for the second round. All went well until, while trying to find a place to park to use the bathroom in the building, we ended up going the wrong way in the semi-truck exit area. Que my waving to the truck driver, I’m sure saying to himself “Rookies!” and waiting on us to flip around (thankfully it was a huge area), and, yup, a “passionate discussion.”
Actually IN our comfort zone here!
Also, since we had never taken the trailer out or used most of it’s functions before, and most of the trip we didn’t have hookups, it was just one oops after another. Needless to say, the entire trip went this way. Moments of serenity followed by a lot of Google Maps research and passionate discussions.
We came back with more questions than we started with and still feeling like rookies, but we learned a lot and now we’re real trailer owners!
Par for the Course
This is really par for the course for us. We have spent the better part of the last two decades practicing getting out of our comfort zone in all areas of life. And guess what? For most of you, homeschooling was really getting out of your comfort zone. Homeschooling is a risk (really it’s not, but it feels that way when we make the decision). So congratulations!
The homeschool learning curve is steep for everyone who wasn’t raised that way. Even if you were, each family and child is unique, which invites a lot of learning, and maybe a lot of “oopsies!” Not only is there a lot of learning to do, but a lot of unlearning of the system we were raised in and the parts of education that don’t speak to us. The process of unlearning can also take you out of your comfort zone.
Getting Better Doesn’t Lie in Our Comfort Zone
As I mentioned, my husband and I have been lucky enough to be associated with many great mentors who consistently pushed us out of our comfort zone and helped us make it a habit. If you were to have met us 20 years ago, you wouldn’t recognize us. Growth and wisdom comes from pushing yourself consistently to do and be more than yesterday. This is one of our biggest homeschooling messages to our son. Really, a life message. Isn’t homeschool a wonderful place to teach and reinforce lessons like this?
Being Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
Taking risks consistently is a way to practice getting outside your comfort zone.
So also on this trailer trip, we went out to the beach for a few hours, ready to play, read and relax. As we walked near the lifeguard tower, we were confronted with a menacing warning. A 12-13ft great white shark had been spotted in that very area only a few hours before. According to the lifeguard, it had circled an experienced kayaker. Um, que the freak out! Who’s with me? Haha! We also overheard a local fisherman telling about the two small sharks he just caught and how he knew there were lots more out there.
Even our son, an avid animal lover, with a particular affinity for sharks (hence knows a lot about them) was taken aback a bit by this warning. Shouldn’t everyone be? But after only a few moments, he explained that his plan to play at the edge of the surf should be relatively safe and was a risk he was willing to take.
Now, this kid LOVES the ocean, so his need to play outweighed the risk there. But he is not a natural risk taker. I never worried about him climbing something when he was small, because he’d never climb up something he wasn’t absolutely sure he could get down.
We have intentionally implemented pushing him out of his comfort zone regularly. He doesn’t like rides at amusement parks typically (unless they’re the super slow toddler ones). So whenever we went, we pushed him step by step. At first, it was the rotating swing ride (for little kids) and other small rides. Then we graduated to little-kid roller coasters, then finally to the big roller coasters at Disneyland.
Each one had major reluctance, requiring a lot of cheerleading and self-talk reframing. But when he went on his first pretty big roller coaster, I’ll never forget his face! He had closed his eyes the whole way and gripped the handle, but he was SO proud! In fact, the biggest hurdle was the Incredicoaster at Disneyland just a few years ago. The wait in line was torture. And luckily, I happened to enter the car first, as he literally tried to push me out the other side! As we started our decent on the first big hill, I swore I was going to hear him start crying, but to my surprise he had his eyes shut super tight and screamed, “THIS IS GREAAAAT!” I am laughing right now remembering.
Life-Long Learning is Outside Our Comfort Zone
Rides obviously are a drastic example. The real growth happens from getting out of your comfort zone in small ways, frequently and consistently. And this is something we not only exemplify (how many times has my son come to give me a hug and a kiss lately when I’m crying in frustration in my tech learning curve?), but we also consistently require it of him.
This is a lesson, a way of living life, that will allow him to be in constant search for more knowledge, more skills, higher goals and to be a better person. I know this, because that is what it does for me and my husband. We are both life-long learners, and Kenyon is on his way to the same.
In what ways do you push yourself and your kids out of their comfort zones?