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Can't Talk | August 12, 2020

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Step Outside Your Comfort Zone? No.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone? No.

This week is Outside Your Comfort Zone Week on Can’t Talk Media and boy do I have some things to say. Bitter things. Angry things. Proceed at your own risk.

Do you know how many inspirational quotes and images there are on the internet if you search the terms “comfort zone”? Too many to count. All of them generally fall along the idea that moving outside your comfort zone is the magical formula to personal growth and living a fulfilling life.

Well I call bullshit.

What if you’ve been ejected outside your comfort zone, unexpectedly? What’s wrong complacency?

After graduating university in 2012 with a BA in Sociology I struggled to find work. In 2013 I was invited into the folds of the family business where I subcontracted remotely for the last two years. During that time my partner and I moved to the rural community that the business owner/family member resided in. It didn’t matter where we lived as our work was done primarily online and housing in that community was very affordable. Here we bought our first house with the intention of settling down.

After countless moves and whatever-jobs, life finally felt like it was on track. 2014 was the golden year where I wasn’t a struggling student or a struggling graduate. We could afford to pay our student loan payments, get groceries, and occasionally go out for dinner without worrying if we’d be able to afford living costs the next month. It wasn’t that we were overly comfortable, but I was comfortable not being in “survival mode”.


Shut up, Mr. Walsh. I’m bitter.

Having a taste of normal life and general happiness is probably why I’m having such a hard time outside my personal comfort zone right now. In December I shared a pro-vaccine cartoon on my Facebook page, something the owner of the family company took great offence to. Long story short, my partner and I both lost our jobs over the dispute. It wasn’t just a job either. I considered it my professional career and had planned to stick with it for the long haul.

Regardless, my partner and I ended up being jobless homeowners in a remote community during the current oil industry crisis.

Since we were technically business for self, we didn’t qualify for any sort of employment insurance or assistance. Any savings we had were quickly used up for basic and fixed living expenses while we searched for new jobs. After 2 months of job searching and over 50 applications to places all over the province, my partner finally got 2 call backs for interviews. In the end, he managed to get a job 140KMs away.

Right now he works away 4 days and comes home for 2, renting a room in the city. I haven’t quite made it there yet. Which again, leaves me outside my comfort zone. I’ve never not worked and being unemployed while my partner works away is really hard for me. I don’t like being on an extremely tight budget and I don’t like the feeling that I’m not contributing. Mind you, if you ask him he’d say I’m working hard getting our household/possessions in order in preparation for a move as well as taking care of our fur-kids.

One of the challenges we face when it comes to moving is having pets; 2 dogs and a cat. We never thought we’d end up renting again and having that many fur-family members makes finding an affordable place to rent really difficult. I need to work to help us afford a new place but I can’t work until I move. I just feel stuck.

But...but I don't wanna.

But…but I don’t wanna. Really. I’m good.

So plan D. My parents, who live 12 hrs away, have agreed to foster my animals for a few months so I can go to the city and work a job until we can afford to get an apartment that allows pets.

Essentially we are starting over. Again.

I’ll bounce back, eventually. It’s just frustrating, like I said, to experience where you want to be in life and then have it all go away.

Being at odds with family, that’s outside my comfort zone. Every time I stress about where I’m going to live, or what I’m going to do for a living, or my pets being sent away, that’s me being outside my comfort zone. Just being overwhelmed by it all, unable to stay positive, and needing to vent to friends on a more frequent basis, outside my comfort zone.

Not having my shit together is definitely outside my comfort zone.

I’m well-versed in this “outside your comfort zone” thing. I’ve been doing it for months. In the end, among all of the chaos that is our current life, technically we chose to go down this road. So I guess you could say that we did choose to step outside our comfort zone and stepping outside your comfort zone is highly overrated, in my opinion.

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  1. Meredith

    Well, sometimes you tackle life and sometimes life tackles you. I’m so sorry you are so stuck right now. I know this will be cold comfort, but most people have been there at some point or other. You make what you believe to be all the right decisions, and then the rug still gets pulled out from under you and you end up on your ass. And sometimes the act of standing up again and brushing yourself off is the hardest part. Believe me, I know.

    The idea behind “going out of your comfort zone,” is, I think, for people who are stuck in ruts, for people who never take chances or do anything outside what is expected of them to do. I know people who still live a few minutes’ drive from the houses they grew up in. They went to the same college everyone else from our high school went to, majored in sensible things, got sensible jobs, got married young, had kids in their 20s and started saving early for retirement. They are all on their second or third houses now. I never did any of those things. My whole life was based on, “What’s next? What’s new?” I’m almost 40 and have rented for my entire adult life. I got married at 30 and my kids are still very little. I’m only now moving to a house in the ‘burbs like a good middle class citizen. I’ve never been *in* a comfort zone my entire adult life; moving into the cliche is going out of *my* comfort zone.

    You need a break. You need a rest. You need comfort and familiarity right now. No one should begrudge you that. Hang in there, and best of luck.

  2. Karin Weekes

    Yeah, there’s a WHOLE universe of difference in consciously deciding to take a step out of your comfort zone, and life shoving you out of it when you’re not looking. When that happens, you’re holding on for dear life, not trying something new to refresh your soul. *hugs*

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