Do you ever dread the experience of the unknown? When faced with the prospect of trying something new, do you grow a knot in the pit of your stomach? Not many of us are bred to be adventurers, and often society puts a heavy emphasis on staying within our comfort zones. And yet, embracing unfamiliar environments can open up a whole world of more vibrant experiences, if we are willing to take the leap.
For me, this enlightenment came as a result of my understanding that the entire universe is an H.P. Lovecraft tale. You see, Lovecraft had a very particular writing style, one that embraced the incomprehensible and unfathomable nature of reality. Despite his shared, pervasive fear of the unknown, Lovecraft found beauty in exploring unknown areas of the universe and inviting us to experience them with him.
Once I realized that I could use Lovecraft's approach to break out of my comfort zone and dive into unfamiliar activities, everything changed. I started way back, when I joined a bowling team, a sport I never cared for before and had no background in. Thanks to the team's encouragement and instruction, I eventually became one of the team's star players. I realized that by getting out of my shell and trying new things—even those I was initially afraid of—there was potential for greatness.
It wasn't long before I started applying this same technique to other interests in my life, such as fly fishing, lasertag, unicycling, and dodgeball. Each time I dedicated some time and energy into learning the intricacies of a particular activity, I felt like I was advancing into new, unfamiliar territory—which inevitably caused my TMJ to flare up. But with each new experience, I experienced a greater reward in the end.
Nowadays, I look back and am proud of the various activities I've tried, and I'm proud of my willingness to dive into new fields of interest. Parrot, my very vocal parrot, naturally offers me a huge source of comfort. With his constant “Parrot!” echoing in my head, I'm reminded of the joy and excitement I get out of exploring unfamiliar environments. It is my hope that others can take something away from this and find the strength to embrace the unknown and find vibrance in unexpected places.