I was chatting to my friend Steve the other night and we got talking about the idea of being ‘comfortable’.
I told him, without a moment’s hesitation, that I don’t do comfortable.
He nodded and said, ‘Comfortable makes me nervous.’
Me too, matey, me too.
I’ve been trying to pinpoint over the past couple of days exactly what it is that frightens me about the familiar; the routine, the security, the safety.
I haven’t quite got there, so I’m doing that thing I do when I try to figure something out; I free pour out of my brain onto a blank page and then post it online for the internet to read.
I get why comfortable is enticing; it’s relaxing, and comfy, and easy. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to, or needing to, be comfortable.
But I find myself sitting back, listening to people bang on about being comfortable, with my head slightly tilted to the right, thinking, ‘Yeah, not for me.’
I talk to a lot of people. And I see too many of them stifled by fear. And insecurity. And I think it sometimes stems from a desire to clutch onto what’s comfortable; the things they know, the people they know, the world they orbit.
It’s all very nice. It all makes perfect sense.
I just don’t think it’s enough for me.
I just don’t think I can even pretend it’s within me to be like that.
The other day, I went to a festival with my friends. We were waiting for our bus to depart the city that morning, and there was this guy, holding us up, because he was waiting for his friends to turn up and board the bus. For whatever reason, they were a no show.
I was looking at him out the window willing him to get on the damn bus. Partly because the sun was shining and I just wanted to be in the Yarra Valley already, but also because here was this fully grown adult, with the potential to have an amazing day right in front of him – literally a few steps in front of him – and he was going to miss out on that because his friends weren’t there.
‘Get on the bus, mate.’
He turned around and walked off.
One of my friends asked, ‘Would you get on the bus?’
Me and Teagan, my sister from another mister, replied, without a moment’s hesitation.
There is no doubt about it. With the upmost love and respect for my friends, if they left me standing in front of a bus, on my own, I would hop on it. I would hop on it, every single time, without question.
Maybe I’d have a dead boring day. Or maybe I’d find some people and talk. Maybe I’d learn something new. Maybe I’d make a new friend. Maybe I’d dance with them. Maybe the direction of my life would change in some remarkable way. Or maybe I’d just sit back and listen to some music in the sun and think, ‘Isn’t this lovely.’
I know that our natural inclination is to run to what’s warm and comfortable, but you’ve got to feel the cold sometimes. Every now and again, you’ve got to do things that completely terrify you. Well, you don’t have to, of course. But I know I do.
I purposely make myself do things I’m terrified of. Mostly because I know if I don’t, I risk becoming everything I know I don’t want to be. And because the other option – that comfortable one – is far more terrifying to me than anything else I could ever be afraid of.
Not allowing myself to fall into a trap of being comfortable has resulted in some pretty marvellous things. Like every now and again, I make myself walk into a room without the comfort of knowing a single person. Doing that is no big deal. But you’d be surprised at how many people won’t. I’ve made some great new friends this year. And they stem from that one, single action. From that one, single choice.
I’m still not exactly sure why comfort irks me. I’ll keep thinking and get back to you.
For now, what I think is that maybe life is just a series of choices we make. Maybe it’s as simple as choosing between getting on the bus, or staying well off it.
Whatever choice you make is fine, and it’s yours.
I just don’t think I’ll let the bus drive off without me. Even when I don’t really feel like hopping on. Even when the ride is sure to be bumpy. Even when the passengers don’t seem all that friendly. I’m going to keep getting on the bus. I want to see where the ride takes me.