Comfort Zones, Please Stop Holding Us Back From Doing Big Things

Comfort Zones, Please Stop Holding Us Back From Doing Big Things

While I love the comfort of my home, there is a whole world out there and it is about time to go see it.

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The little boy that I have had the pleasure of nannying for the last year says (AKA, screams) this on a regular basis: "I WANT TO STAY HOME TODAY!"

And let me tell ya, I can't blame him.

He has a cozy house. He is 4 and that's "His" place. The little man knows that when he stays there, he'll probably have a pretty dandy day.

You could say he's wise for a 4-year-old, he has his comfort zone figured out and he hates the idea of leaving it.

Yet, whenever he finally exits the building, that is after I say, "Please put your shoes on" about 78 times, he doesn't regret it.

He has more fun at Chick-Fil-A or the park than he does playing with his blocks in his playroom.

Every now and again we even see his tiny 4-year-old friends from school out and about.

He thrives when he rides his bike outside, even though he falls sometimes.

He might get exhausted from attempting the monkey bars time and time again.

Yet, not once has he seemed to regret leaving the house and it's still what he prefers and loudly voices when I tell him to put on his shoes for the 77th time.

Comfortable places do that to us, they keep us in them and trick us into thinking that we belong in them 24/7.

Home isn't bad. It can be good, and YES you should absolutely take it easy every now and then.

Yet, when you get out of wherever you are currently calling "home" and dive headfirst into something new, even if it's the monkey bars or riding your bike without training wheels, you could end up thriving.

If your comfort zone is anything like mine, or a certain 4-year-olds, it's probably a pretty cool place filled with some of your favorite things. It might be silently taunting you and telling you to stay there forever and ever. Perhaps it's telling you that it is the best place for you right now and perhaps you have been following that lil' voice in your head telling you to stay cozy forever.

When you do leap out of your comfort zone, you might just find that the monkey bars are pretty fun, that Chick-Fil-A has good chicken, and that though your home is great, you don't need to stay in hiding forever.

I might not know what your comfort zone is or what part of leaving home scares you like crazy. However, what I can tell you is that taking risks will help you grow and that you will find that the world is big and scary, yet oh so beautiful.

I know that I have to take note from the 4-year-olds in my life.

Comfort zones don't need to keep us from missing out on the monkey bars of our lives anymore.



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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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