The last three weeks have me feeling as though I’ve gone a bit backwards.

Granted, I knew being immersed back into my home environment would present some challenges, but I didn’t prepare myself for the extent of it. I’ll maybe go into it in another post; I don’t feel like elaborating right now. But it leads onto the following.

I made myself a promise that I would get myself Out Of My Comfort Zone (hereafter OOMCZ) at least once a week. A little, eeny, uncomfortable activity or a massive fuck-off one; didn’t matter, just at least one occurance every seven days.

So three weeks in? Nada. Way to stick to your word, Pop.

I guess actually having to work does take up a bit of time. With two months off, I’d sort of become accustomed to the freedom of unemployment. I lovelovelove my new job, but I’d forgotten that it does take a rather vast chunk from your day.

Anyway. OOMCZ.

So my fam is pretty heavilly involved in tournament water skiing. I.e, it has been our main holiday reason, weekend activity (yes, all through winter) and extra curricular for Henio, Michael and James especially, but Deb as well in the form of the occasional single open ski and big involvement in the water ski club.

When we were mere tykes, we used to hurtle over the Rimutakas hills just out of Wellington where we resided to “The River” for vaykays. Having started skiing at the tender age of 20, Henio was avidly into the sport and heartily encouraged us kids to get involved too. Michael was instantly in love (continues to this day; breathes, dreams, works, lives it), James took to it like a newborn to a nipple (latching on super swiftly), and I? Well, skiing and I have never really been the firmist of friends.

While Michael was begging to move from the ski board to double skis to a single to slaloming by the time he was eight, I was happy squaloring in the mud flats with my pal Todd. The ever encouragement-cum-beseeching from Henio was only successful should a $2 shop ornament be used as a bribe; otherwise, I full out refused to engage in the sport.

Confession time: the real reason I ’twas terrified of going for a tow was my immense fear of fish. Like borderline phobia. Eels, snapper, even flounder. Scared the day lights (inner Alf Stewart) out of me.

Etched in my memory like a tattoo is the memory of one sunlit afternoon at “The Pitt”, a sidelong river stream where Henio and his mates chugged up and down the slalom course. It was common knowledge that the place was absolutely teeming with eels. Completely coursing (skiing pun) with the buggers. And they were fierce fellows as well.

On this afternoon in subject, older bro Mickey was fooling around on the dock when an enormous eel suctioned onto his arm. Glue gun two point oh. Michael screamed and shook the squirming rapscallion off, but he had a huge circular bruise on his arm for weeks afterwards. The aubergine-esque mark haunts me to this day.

The episode stopped the Pop engaging in skiing quick smart, $2 shop ornaments no longer a successful payola.
Years went by with me never venturing into waterways beyond the kneecaps. Sea, lake, river, baths  (just kidding on the last listing, though swimming pools always had me leaping out in terror as scenes from Jaws swirled and swum around my mind). At the age of eleven I sort of got coerced into skiing again with a few newly made mates; this went on every weekend for a year or so and included a stint at slaloming in Nationals (good old Wanganui River, absolutely nailed the plate round – only Junior Girl not to make the finals, hard not to slay it). But every ski I had, be it trick or slalom, I didn’t push myself to my best because of the thought of what was lurking beneath those waves. When the option came to take up rowing and close the case on my (limited) skiing skills, I embraced the blade with ardour.

In the past decade (fuck when did I get so old?!), I’ve learnt the easiest way to get Henio chuffed is to don my girl Cocoa Binding (my trusty slalom ski I’ve had since I was about 12) and churn up some water (and my stomach). I’ve given him at least an annual attempt every year (obviously) and have always thought this was pretty decent of myself.

While Locating Pop in India, I decided it has come the time to conquer my fear of fish. It’s time to rejoin the involvement in the fam fav and shred on the ski. As soon as I got back, I promised myself. First weekend I’m on that H20 with Henio.

Ahem. A few weeks after arrival, I went out and went OOMCZ and slalomed up a storm.

Ok not a storm. Not a downpour either. Ok fine, I wouldn’t even class it as a sunshower. But it was six passes of chucking in all I had.
Fuck the fish.

(I was thrilled finding the older sibling had chopped up my full length wetsuit to furnish himself some shin guards. The only option available to keep me layered up in the nippy lake waters was to sport my shorty wetsuit that was purchased when I was 11. Luckily, copious thermals underneath kept the arms and legs from being frost bitten to pieces. And kept any lake dwellers from having a suction too).

And the first move of many to come to hurdle out of my content precinct complete.

Henio was stoked.

So now I’m making up a list of OOMCZ options I can pick and choose from. Hustling up to Auckland and jumping off the Skytower. Swimming with dolphins (childhood dream. They’re not fish, ok?). Meeting someone for a drink and walking into a crowded bar by myself.

Life ambles, moseys and bimbles along in pale yellows and muted mauves when you remain reined inside your comfort parameters. The last few years, I’ve kept myself pretty well fenced in my own.

My Solo Sojourn hailed the busting down of the enclosure, opening my eyes to the scarlett reds, glistening golds and vibrant violets  that are out there should you put yourself out there.

Bring on the rainbows and thrills of not just stepping, but sprinting out of the constraints of “comfort”.

Let’s nail this list.

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