“It is very important,” I said to myself firmly, my insides jangling with nerves. “To leave your comfort zone.” I read a book recently where the author speaks to their younger self: “You are smart, and beautiful, and accomplished,” She tells her. “And it is imperative you learn how to fail.”
Identifying disproportionately with this fictional character, I have been searching for something I will be terrible at. Not, one might think, too tricky a task. However, in order for this to be a fair test, this has to be a totally new experience. Which, as a grown up, is harder to stumble across than one might think. Marriage, obviously, and children- but after some consideration I felt that might be taking things a little too far. I settled, finally, on touch rugby.
Last night, my friend and I went to our first ever touch rugby game. He has played rugby at a reasonably high level since school. I bought my first rugby ball on Monday. I felt totally prepared. Until I arrived at the pitch (late, because I believed this would imbue my presence with an air of calm experience and nonchalance), and realised that I had absolutely no idea what to do.
I spent the next 40 minutes in a hell of confusion and yelling, cursing any previously held ideas about “trying something new” or “challenging myself”. The game ended, finally, and I began to reassess. “I wasn’t great,’ I admitted grudgingly. “But I think I could really be very good at this game.” Gulping water (I had expended an enormous amount of energy rushing away from the ball), I basked happily in my newfound smugness. “I am so impressive,” I told myself internally. “And brave.” Wondering how I should go about entering a more professional league, I noticed my friend standing next to me. “I really thought you’d be better,” He remarked, stealing the rest of my water. If you need me, I’ll be spending the rest of the year firmly inside my comfort zone.