beyond the comfort zone

So I’ve been right outside my comfort zone this week and I have loved it. I’m back in Bulgaria, visiting dear friends from way back who are doing astonishing work to bring about deinstitutionalisation of the orphanages here. (You can read about my previous visit here and here.)

This is what it looks like outside.

Beautiful, isn’t it? The only problem is that inside the central heating has broken down. Now anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a complete wimp about being cold. I have even been known to take a hot water bottle to bed in May. If you had told me the situation before I left I honestly might have wondered if I could cope. I can now see how pathetic that was and how much very good stuff I would have missed if I had chickened out. And frankly, I may be wearing a fleece and a woolly hat in bed but I am managing to have a perfectly good sleep every night!

This is a small and rather silly example but it did make me wonder how much else might be passing me by because of rigid ideas about what I need in order to function – and how many opportunities I might be missing to do something useful. My friends have been telling me about their early days out here and thoroughly humbling me. I’ll save you the horror stories of giving birth in a provincial Bulgarian hospital, but as another example, they moved into an unfinished house with a one-year-old child and all slept together on the floor while they gradually decorated it and installed a kitchen.

It is quite horrifying to think that if they had refused the challenge of moving well outside their comfort zone, many abandoned children here could still be incarcerated in a dilapidated, understaffed orphanage instead of settled in the beautiful small group homes that their charity has set up

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7 comments

  1. Being outside our comfort zone certainly gives us a glimpse of ourselves and our world from a different perspective. The Cedar Foundation sounds like an interesting charity. Thanks for the link.

  2. Definitely good to get our of the comfort zone, especially this time of year when it is just too easy to languish until the weather warms up a bit. I don’t think it is so much about fear of risks, as being too set in our ways. And I really like the way you have recognise that you may be missing other good things too. All power to you.

  3. To Christy, Colleen and Anita – thank you so much for your comments. The common theme seems to be that getting older makes it harder to challenge ourselves in new ways and I think that may be true – after all, most of us when young accrue plenty of experiences that we’d prefer not to repeat in later life and this can perhaps make us more cautious. I think there’s a definite argument those of us in our prime (as I like to think of it) should be able to take a gap year, just as many of our teenage children do. Fresh horizons, new challenges – it would really be a boost for the next stage of life. Just let me get rid of that darned mortgage first … 🙂

  4. In principle my philosophy has always been ‘leap and a net will appear’, but in practice the desire to be sure of a soft landing has often held me back!

    What amazing dedication to the orphans, humbling, as you say 😀

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