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    Growth begins outside of your comfort zone

    DID YOU KNOW THAT COFFEE’S BIRTHPLACE IS ETHIOPIA? In Ethiopia, coffee isn’t typically enjoyed first thing in the morning like here in America. Instead, it’s enjoyed at noon or even after work. The coffee beans are roasted in a pan over a fire, brewed, and then served, often accompanied with a snack of popcorn. Incense burns while you sip the delicious, robust beverage. How do I know about this awesome experience? It’s because I’ve been able to experience
    this beautiful, authentic Ethiopian coffee ceremony right here in Five Points at Harambe Ethiopian Restaurant. I would have never discovered this cultural tradition that has inspired me so much if I had not ventured out of my comfort zone.
    Welcome to the Fall Arts & Culture issue—we’re stepping into a season that looks completely different than last year for all of us. The annual events that we look forward to each fall have been postponed, our theatres have not yet reopened, and social distancing has become the norm. It’s a world that’s well outside of our comfort zones, one that none of us have experienced before.
    So in this issue, we’ve put together our fall editorial section with the mission of lifting up our local artists, sharing ways that we can still participate with the arts with virtual concerts. Our cover features children running, laughing, and being silly together in front of the new art installation of HOPE on Main Street as a reminder that we need to be leaders for the next generation, as their views of the world are being shaped every moment of every day. The next generation needs love and hope— their little worlds have already changed drastically in just six short months.
    Part of the change that we have seen in our country over the last few months is a renewed emphasis on elevating the voices of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color). As a magazine that represents a diverse community, being a platform for all voices is paramount to our mission. With that in mind, we chose two dynamic Columbia changemakers for our Fig Authentic spotlight this fall: Alex English and Kim Jamieson. Their voices and stories are powerful, and we look forward to continuing to uplift a variety of voices from our community in future issues.
    The beginning of a new season is an opportune time
    for new goals and new challenges. This fall, I’m going to challenge myself to do more things outside of my comfort zone. Will you do the same? I’m sure that your comfort zone is going to look different than mine. It is unique
    to each of us, and all the same, outside of it is where growth happens. Here are a few ideas for experiencing something new in Columbia: go try a restaurant that
    you haven’t been to before, invite someone that doesn’t have the same background as you for a glass of wine and conversation, give or volunteer with a local non-profit, find what you typically buy on Amazon in a local shop or boutique instead, sign up and train for a fall 5K, try your first outdoor yoga class, or do an anonymous flower drop on a friend’s front porch. It doesn’t have to be something huge, but whatever it is for you, growth will come to you… and joy. You never know what connection, experience, or opportunity exists for you outside of your comfort zone until you step out and embrace the experience.
    As we step out of our comfort zones this fall— let’s grow TOGETHER, not apart.
    BRYNLEY FARR
    & THE FIG COLUMBIA TEAM