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Keeping it comfy...

Jamieson Van Loan

The holiday season always seems to be a time of reflection. A time where we ponder where this year has gone and what has brought us to this current space we occupy. Recently someone asked me about my life plans, for lack of a better term. At my age, I get the typical questions "do you want to get married" "do you want kids" etc. And I have my generic response "hopefully, one day" (although hope is a four letter word for me but that's another rant). 

Normally, I put zero thought into this line of questioning. Curiosity is a natural human condition. Whether it be the holiday reflection or the past few weeks of my life, but this time I really thought about these questions and my answer. 

Here is my conclusion: 

This is me. I am 36. I am single. I have no kids. I do not own a home. I have never been married. I have chosen this life. I have had opportunities for all of those things but I chose this life. Do I want kids? Yes. Do I want a husband? Meh.
JK, a life partner may be cool. Marriage? I could take it or leave it. 

I have never been the girl with ambitions to wed and have the white picket fence with 1.5 kids and a labrador. If this is you- kudos- you know what you want.

For me, I wanted adventure. I wanted to travel. I wanted experiences. I wanted stories to tell. I wanted to witness cultures. I wanted to meet new humans. I still want these things. My desire for experience has not been satiated. 

I realized that what feeds my soul the most are the things that exist outside of the normal comfort zone. What I mean by "normal comfort zone" is the ideals that society imposes on us and that majority of people desire and obtain. And these are all beautiful things to desire: a family, a home, a partner- it is what life is about. It is just not what my life is about. 

I have an irrational fear of routine. I quit a catering job once because if I had to make 300 more Vietnamese spring rolls, I was gonna chop my arm off. I couldn't bear showing up to work every day and doing the exact same thing over and over again. The monotony was killing my soul. One aspect I love about being an entrepreneur is that I never know where my day is going to take me. I am constantly being forced to do things that make me uncomfortable. I live in a state of dis-ease with work and I love it. I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

Comfort zones are the spaces where habits and rituals exist and where stress, anxiety and fear are at their lowest. It is where most people enjoy spending their lives. And why wouldn't you? Less stress and anxiety is what we all want. 

But for me, I need to be in a constant state of evolution. I need to be forced to exist outside of the settled spaces and experience the discomfort. I need to experience the unknown. For its in this realm of discomfort that growth occurs. 

There is a term called optimal anxiety. Essentially, it is the favored level of anxiety that you can handle while still being productive. Everyone has a different level and I tend to have a higher threshold. It is not that I crave stress and anxiety, but I do tend to thrive in those situations. 

When you're in your comfort zone, you're safe and secure. But there is no expansion. You are not pushing your limits. This to me is not an option. I need to be thrust into the unknown and challenge what I think to be true. 

And this is what I learned about myself this week. I crave challenges. I want the difficult puzzles that need to be viewed from all angles to be solved. I feel the most happy when I am not settling for the status quo. I need the grueling moments so I can examine myself and find my growth. 

And this year has been nothing except growth for me. It has been my most difficult and most rewarding year yet. I am at the happiest I have ever been and yet I had the most painful beginning. How can this be? 

It is because my challenging situation forced me to break down a barrier. I had no choice but to move outside of my comfort zone. Once the boundary had been knocked down, I was able to expand. I am so grateful to have gone through it. The personal evolution has been immeasurable. 

This brings me to my entire point. I may not have babies and a husband and a white picket fence. And I may never have those things but my life is filled with love. The amount of love that is showered on me every day and that I have the honor of sharing with people is infinite. I can't tell you how many times a day I say "I love you" to people. How lucky am I? 

So next time someone asks me what my life plans are, here is my answer:
To be loved and share love. 

xo