Sunday, April 4, 2010

Pu Tien and my comfort zone

This weekend was my in-laws’ birthdays and the family has decided to celebrate it in a far away restaurant called Pu Tien in Sawah Besar. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I received the complete address of the restarurant in my phone. Was this for real? Would they be requiring passports to enter that zip code? For a person who lives mostly in the South (suburb) part of the town, my farthest trip to the city is to Bundaran HI and then back. Even though I heard so many people telling me interesting stories about the life beyond Bundaran HI, I was never been intrigued to visit. So, this weekend apparently I was forced to try something new, entirely.

Talking about ‘try something new’, I am kinda pathetic in this department. I’ve been teaching my kids to always ‘try something new’ and keep their minds open. And I usually brag to other people that I am the champion of the ‘trying something new’ stuff (at least I am a better try-er than my husband). But everytime when situation presents me with something completely different from what I know, I dutifully retreat back. I guess what I forgot to say all along is that, I don’t mind trying something new as long as it still lies within my comfort zone. Bundaran HI is my comfort zone. Anything new within my borders are acceptable. Meaning, I am willing to give it a try. Unfortunately (for my mind), anything new outside my borders are not-that-easily-acceptable.

How many times do you feel that way? Don’t we usually judge that ‘something new outside my border’ is bad? It’s not comfortable to be out of our comfort zone, indeed. But staying too long in our comfort zone makes us lazy and ignorant. The simple answer to this problem is to (simply) try something new a little step at a time. And for me, this little step was driving accross my Kingdom to the FarAway Land to have a birthday party with my family.

Define your own little step outside your boundaries, everyday, every moment and you will be amazed to experience what you’ll get. Not all of those experiences are guaranteed sweet though, sometimes it could be sour and bitter too. But.. at least we tried. However, trying something new good and trying something new wrong are two different things. Don’t try to steal, don’t try to do drugs, don’t try to cheat your spouse, doesn’t matter how new these things are to you. Trying something new inside or outside our omfort zone must always follow our conscience, faith, ethics, and beliefs.

Now here comes the food review. The food was brilliant, so was the price, I was told. The rest of the place was... well, interesting. It was crowded, so it shows us how famous the place is. The tables and the chairs were lined up so closely to each other that it was impossible to walk around without harassing other people. I think the owner wanted to maximize the use of the space (good job, man). But I found a tiny problem with this whole floor arrangement. When I was on my way to the FarAway toilet, I had to pass a tiny space between two chairs. After I said “Permisi” and “Excuse Me” and “Sorry, hello..” the people who sat on those chairs didn’t budge. I guess this was a normal procedure for the people who came to this restaurant. They immersed themselves with the food so intensely that they seemed to be living in their own world. So... I sucked up my breath (thank God I never miss my sit-up routine everytime I go to the gym), so that my tummy was flat enuf to pass that narrow tunnel between those chairs (yippee). Unfortunately, my oversized (and overpriced) handbag didn’t make it through smoothly. It bumped one of the lady’s head and she snapped at me (or my bag) instantly feeling annoyed. Oops, sorryyy! To make it worse, her companions at her table suddenly looked up at my bag too, feeling annoyed as well. Oh crap..! I got to make a mental note out of this incident, never ever bring an oversized bag when I go trying something new outsisde my comfort zone. Why would I bring this bag in the first place anyway ? Bag-less would be good…

Would I come back to this new place called Pu Tien again, now that it’s not so outside my border line? Sure, now that I know I dont have to bring passport to get there.

Would you come back there often? Ehm... err.. well.. it’s still a little bit outside my Kingdom.

Would you willing to try something new next time, outside your Kingdom that is? No.

Not even try a little bit, take a smaller step? Nope.

But it could be fun for you...? Nopie Nope

What is the point of the whole ‘try something new’ then? My point exactly. It’s not easy to get out of our comfort zone. It takes a lot of practise and a strong will to experience it. When I was asked point blank about going outside my zone willingly everytime, my honest answer would be no (and yes, I would answer that question with rolling my eyes and grinning triumphantly). I need a little encouragement from others to constantly open up my eyes and grabbing me out of my safe zone. That’s why I have family and friends who can do that to me. Good friends and family would never try to harm us while we are trying something new.

There'll be times when we are challenged by our circumstances to leave our comfort zone. These circumstances are usually much bigger than just choosing a place to eat or changing the type of clothes to wear. It could relate to our career, or our family, our friends, our health, our lifestyle. It's very OK to feel worry, to feel doubtful, to feel lost, to feel annoyed even... But when we relaized that we have to do it, we will do it.

(And yeah, I would leave my oversized handbag at home next time…)

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