Discomfort is a thing…

I’m not a risk taker. I don’t do discomfort well. I don’t seek “new” experiences. And yet. Here I am in Brooklyn – completely a fish out of water. Before Glen left for Rochester for a couple days, we talked about fear because things are different and fear because there’s actual danger. Good food for thought. I think I’m learning the difference.

When Glen headed to Rochester on Monday, I wrote that I would have to “put on my big girl panties” and step out of my comfort zone or maybe away from (or into?) my fears. It was a daily, conscious decision – even a bit of a push – to do so. How did it go, you ask? Well…

The first day I took the subway…all by myself. When we travel, Glen always takes the lead and I follow along not having to think or really pay attention. Would I be able to figure out my route on my own? Would I get confused in the bowels of the system? Would I find my way back home? I chose to go to an area of Manhattan that was familiar to me so it was sort of a compromise adventure – familiar and still foreign. (Remember that word “familiar“.) It was a beautiful day at the river. I enjoyed my meandering walk and making decisions about which way to go as I went along. Turns out that having a river on one side of you is a great clue for which direction to move toward! (Thus my challenge in the bowels of the subway! No river or tall building to follow.) After a relaxing lunch on the quay, I ended the adventure by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and then catching the subway from the east side back to the house. Baby steps for sure, but success by all counts!

Look how few people there are here.
Just a hang out spot

The next day, I chose to stay closer to home and just walked a couple miles to a check out a different market. Not so exciting, not so new, but a slightly different neighborhood with a slightly different vibe. Later in the day, I took Dug as my date to an Italian restaurant that Glen and I had discovered a couple days earlier. I had a meal and a cocktail by myself! That might be the first time I’ve ever done that. So another new experience in a familiar location and another successful day!

He’s a great dinner date.

The next day I returned to Prospect Park which is 3 miles away. Dug and I had ventured there before so it was a familiar location. I did map out a different path to get there because…well…part of the route we took the first time was not through the greatest neighborhood. So this was a compromise walk – familiar location with a new path.


Yesterday, Dug and I walked 3 miles to the East River and Domino Park. It too, took me through a couple neighborhoods that were not familiar to me. Once we got to the park, the walk there was phenomenal – great views, shade, kids and nannies/moms everywhere. We were in the neighborhood where Glen and I had stayed a couple years ago, so it felt familiar. The challenge of the day was that it was HOT and I knew that Dug was suffering so…I woke up the Uber app and we took a ride back to our home. First time I’ve ever done that on my own. A familiar form of transportation, but done independently. I figured it out – even when the first car canceled on me while standing on a hot corner in the middle of the day. Dang it.

What a view.
Lots of work in process

So, what have I learned? I’ve been thinking…Is it a risk to do something unfamiliar? Is it uncomfortable? Maybe even scary? Yep. How do I overcome the fear of “new”? By making it NOT new – by repeating the experience, by making it familiar.

Here’s the proof – We’ve been here two weeks and I’ve noticed that the streets around Halsey (our street) that I have walked repeatedly don’t seem so unfamiliar anymore. The scenery is not new or different. The basketball courts are full of players throughout the day and evening. The stoops around the corner have the same older gentlemen shooting the breeze all day. The homeless man wanders the neighborhood. I pass by the mother and daughter walking to school every day. The coffee shop owner says “see you later” as we walk by. The people don’t seem like strangers anymore. I think that I’ve learned that making the unfamiliar familiar is the key.

Our neighborhood

And guess what?! I’ve also learned that it is worth being uncomfortable! Every day these last few days (weeks) I stepped out of my comfort zone. I took risks. And I took deep breaths – many deep breaths and…maybe…just maybe…I’ve learned that I’m a bit more of a risk-taker than I thought!

Published by gat2jdt2

60 something retirees (or semi-retirees) learning to live differently

5 thoughts on “Discomfort is a thing…

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