When Is The Last Time You Did Something That Made You Uncomfortable? / by Nicole Paulus

When Is the Last Time You Did Something That Made You Uncomfortable
 
You traveled light (all night, every night), to arrive at the conclusion of the world’s inutterable secret, and you shut your mouth.
— -Bay of Pigs, Destroyer

Recently I had another epiphany. I know what you’re thinking, “Oh god Nicole, not again.” Well folks—it happened—and I am not sorry about it. 

A few months ago, I bought a ticket to see a band I have loved for some time. Destroyer (the band) wasn’t playing in Berlin but was playing in the neighboring city of Leipzig. Since none of my Berlin friends appreciate this band as much as I do, I decided to take the trip solo. The fact that I had a friend of a friend I could stay with (and that the bus ticket was only 14 euros round trip), made my decision that much easier.

Fast forward to the night before my trip and I was regretting my decision big time. Basically I was coming with any possible excuse so that I wouldn’t have to go.

  • I thought about all the things that I should be doing instead of taking a silly trip to Leipzig.
  • I thought about how horrible it would be to have to wake up early the next day to catch my bus.
  • I thought about all the things that could go wrong on the way.

When I woke up the next morning, I had a scratchy throat. “Bingo! I have an out”, I thought. But then I had another thought. “Nicole, if you stay in Berlin today, you’ll never remember this Monday. This Monday will be like any other Monday in the history of Mondays. You’ll go to the gym, then to a cafe to do some work, then watch something on Netflix before going to bed. If you go to Leipzig, however, you’ll remember it forever.” 

Well that was it, my mind was made up. And boy am I glad I made this decision.

I had one of the best times of my life. Leipzig itself was like a quieter, less populated Berlin, but the show, the show was incredible. The last time I saw the band was at an acoustic performance at the Hollywood Cemetery in Los Angeles. While that experience was intimate and beautiful, this time was special -- the lead singer was backed by a 7-piece band. They played all my favorite songs including Bay of Pigs (an 11 minute roller coaster of emotions.)The best part of attending a show solo however, is that I didn’t have to worry about anyone else’s good time. I just closed my eyes and enjoyed the music.  

So what exactly was my epiphany?


Putting yourself in uncomfortable situations is scary, sure. Take it from someone who can literally talk herself out of anything. But guess what? When you DO put yourself in these itchy situations, you grow exponentially. Your happy quotient stretches higher and higher than you ever thought possible. Then suddenly you realize, there is NO limit to how happy you can be.

You must keep putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. If you aren’t an inherently risky person, it’s going to take a lot more work to keep pushing yourself--but the more you do it, the more inspired, fulfilled, and happy you’ll feel, I promise :)

After the show, I walked home through a lovely forest, my insides still buzzing from the magical experience I just had. 

  • I thought about how much wisdom I get to share with my unborn niece one day.
  • I thought about how beautiful the world is.
  • I thought about how lucky I am to have so many lovely people in my life, cheering me on. 
  • I thought about how I almost didn’t make that trip. 

Being happy isn’t about reaching some level of comfort and living the rest of your days in peace. It’s about constantly challenging yourself. It’s about opening yourself up to new experiences. It’s about exploring the world around you. It’s about finding the beauty in the darkest of corners, being grateful for every beautiful soul you've had the pleasure of spending time with, and being ready to accept the many lessons that life has for you (brace yourself, there's a lot!) :)