Got to get in to get out

My inner grammar Nazi comes out frequently. I can't help it, especially after a decade of being chased by other grammar Nazis. Such is the route I chose with delivering information via the radio and TV, along with researching, writing, and editing.

Lately, there's a phrase that I'm battling with: stepping out of my comfort zone.

I have no problem doing things I don't normally do (and am not adamantly against doing), but I have tremendous trepidation towards doing things I would never do. I will book a flight to Chicago, but I won't go skydiving. I'll bike nine miles around a lake, but I won't bike around downtown during rush hour.

So, what's the difference between stepping out of my comfort zone and expanding that zone? I'd prefer to expand because throwing all caution to the wind usually makes me incredibly uncomfortable.

In terms of expanding the zone, I recently took up a friend's invitation to do a night of contra dancing. Like mixing square dancing and polka, this is a bit more involved than dancing freely (and drunkenly) at a wedding reception. Luckily, my friend gave me pointers and set me up with experienced dancers. This put me at ease instantly, and I was able to enjoy the rest of the evening.

Did I really step out of my metaphoric comfort zone? Yes and no. I danced with a number of women I didn't know, but everyone was dancing with people they didn't know. There was no pressure during the evening because it was all about dancing and having a good time. No mind games, no second guessing.

Given how much my feet hurt by the end of the night, I literally stepped out of my comfort zone. I'd do this again soon, but I have to let me legs and feet rest. And contemplate when my next nine-mile bike ride will be.