New Horizons



Today’s mantra in Hip Sobriety School is ‘In stepping out of my comfort zone I step into my potential.’ As a stepping off point Holly shared the William Faulkner quote above which totally resonates with me as the ocean is important in our lives now. I often walk along the shore and somehow I can’t but feel the pulse of possibility. There comes a sense freedom, a knowledge that potential is real, is still available. For a long time I felt that I had squandered it.

Potential is what people see when they look at children. Uni students, suddenly passionate about saving the world have the potential to remain ablaze with fiery opinions and determination but also that which will lead them into bad company, bad choices, the fire fizzling out. The determination of the newly qualified, lawyer, doctor, teacher, saving freedoms, lives, souls.

A middle aged housewife and sometime writer not so much. Much much less potential there. Fires long since cold, youthful vigour dampened by mundanity, what eye sparkle there was now dull, brows creased with worry.

Comfort zone can become all encompassing, which is fine if your comfort zone is work, or sewing, or painting or gardening. But when things turn inward it is easy to become downcast and forget there was ever any fire at all.


But then comes a nudge, a twinkle like the reflection of light in a mirror, momentarily blinding. A reminder from the horizon that there are possibilities, adventures to be had yet. There may need to be several nudges but even once the trick of light is long gone, the shadow remains, the wonder is always there.

Ten years ago today we arrived in Australia for a ‘trial’. It has taken all of this time, and I’m not finished yet, to persuade myself to lose sight of the shore. I have clung on as though to an invisible rope, which will always be at hand, but which I have learnt to accept not to depend on.

As we dull our senses and dreams with drinking, we create our own toxic little comfort zone, always there, always a friend when we need to avoid discomfort, loneliness, frustration, stress. But those things lie in wait, biding their time for when you realise that to outrun them is impossible.

Feeling everything takes some getting used to. Breathing through the stress, counting to ten, walking away. Skills we try and instil in our children and yet as adults, avoid out of fear.

My swim has begun, I know I am wiling to navigate the obstacles. It may not be fun at times, in I’m pretty sure it will get rough as hell, but once the shore behind is no longer in sight there is nowhere to go but forwards.


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