I was never fond of leaving my comfort zone. I clung to comfort the way that cat hair clings to all of the clothing. I thought the whole “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” line of thinking was incredibly flawed and downright irritating. Just let me live comfortably in my tiny little comfort zone bubble and please don’t make me feel guilty for it, I thought. I was content with routine, familiar with stagnancy, but it was out of fear. I realized that my comfort zone had become a prison cell around me, and I was missing out on more than I was being protected from. Eventually, I grasped my self-worth and was able to understood that I was good enough to do the things I had always been afraid of doing. As of late, I’ve been taking some chances and it feels really good - sometimes it feels indulgent; hedonistic, even, because I’m taking all these risks for no reason other than because I can. I’m alive, and able to make choices that coincide with my idea of happiness in this moment - so I should take advantage of that, right?
One of the risks (among many) that I’ve been taking is not being afraid to dress the way I want and challenging myself to put in a little more effort than I’m used to. I’m boycotting sweatpants and tights because I rely on them way too much. I’ve also decided not to shy away from wearing something just because I think it might attract unwanted attention. Ultimately, I’m trying to push myself in a way that boosts my confidence and self-esteem. I’ve found this to be a really effective way of expressing myself while also challenging the inner voice inside me that says “you can’t.”
Another request that I’ve made to myself is to not be afraid of taking risks in my academic writing. As a student who cares about grades maybe a little too much, I can sometimes get caught up in trying to perfect written pieces and will spend hours revising until my fingers fall off. I tend to focus too hard on following the rules in academic writing that I forget to take chances and make unique connections. Playing it safe with academic writing is obviously the easier option, but taking risks is much more rewarding and likely to earn you scholarly merit.
I’ve also been challenging myself to say yes more often. This includes invitations to events, favours, requests, etc. Obviously, the line is drawn when requests become too crazy or plans fall through at the last minute, but I’m beginning to realize that just because I might think I’d rather be at home cuddled up with a book and a mug of tea, that doesn’t mean that an alternative experience is less worthy of my time or won’t add significance to my life in some way. Basically, if you have no valid reason not to say yes to something, then say yes, because experience is growth and growth is the whole point of adulting.
This has been working out pretty well so far because I’ve had some great (and some incredibly weird) things happen to me by following these rules. Saying yes to (nearly) everything, doing my best not to care so much, and maximizing happiness over everything else may seem like quite a hedonistic way to live, but it’s also a very rewarding way to live, mentally and spiritually - even if only for a little while. With midterms upon us and winter looming over our heads, November on the precipice, self-indulgence is something that you should practice this winter because it’s fun, because you can, and because you deserve it.