“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” // Oliver Wendall Holmes Jr.



Of all the things that dog me in life, one of the most persistent is the desire to be comfortable.

There’s nothing wrong with comfort, per se. But it is so easy to become too reliant on it. To decide you want it at the expense of everything else. To be stifled.

Because if I try new things, if I take adventures and risks, I might be forced to compromise my comfort.

If I explore my city the way it’s meant to be explored, I might wander somewhere “wrong,” somewhere that makes me uncomfortable. (I’m not saying you shouldn’t be cautious in big metropolitan areas — but there comes a point when fear is keeping you from living.)

If I square my shoulders and walk into the gym and decide to take control of my health, someone might laugh at me. Someone will probably laugh at me.

If I take that trip, see that city, explore that place, I might not have all the money I need to eat exactly what I want, get exactly as many expensive coffees as I want, shop as often as I want.

If I introduce myself to someone, invite them to lunch, open my heart, I might feel awkward and uncomfortable. They might despise me! How likely that seems in my little heart.

But if I wall myself off from all those experiences, keep myself safe from all those risks, what do I have at the end of my life?

I have nothing, I guess, except the knowledge that I was really, really comfortable.

Not joy. Not wisdom. Not stories. Comfort.

Is that all I want? Is it even vaguely possible that I want to reach the end of my life and have, to show for it, the fact that I kept myself secluded and safe and unscathed?

It’s not. It’s not.

I want to risk, even if I have to start out risking in my own small ways rather than boldly, wildly, with abandon.

I want to stretch.