We look to our comfort zones, we do, we do
That makes sense.
Tai recently wrote of a few of her favorite things. Good things. Nice things. And most importantly, those things in her life that bring her comfort and a sense of well-being.
I too have those. As have we all. For most of us our happiness-inducers change over the years. When we are young and foolish we go for the extremes, the adrenalin rushes that push out all the stops. In that context it is normally the young who indulge in skiing off terrifying crags, surfing Oahu’s North Shore in winter, indulging in screaming and often illicit sex. Well, sometimes that one lasts a little longer, but you get my drift.
As we age we moderate our comforts and look more towards serenity in life that enables us to carry on. In fact, we often find we get habit-bound in this regard. That is why old people can be such pains in the ass. “Oh, Dad’s pouting because he forgot his favorite pillow when he came to stay. Now I know he won’t enjoy a minute of his visit with you and the grandchildren.” Asshole, you might justifiably be prompted to think. But, you see, Dad’s pillow is part of his comfort zone, like Linus’s blanket, and to not have it renders life just a bit out-of-synch.
Sometimes people seek ‘bad’ comfort behaviors. Behaviors that are unhealthy and even potentially lethal. Here we find excessive drinking, drug taking, heavy smoking, more of that damned illicit sex, and so forth. Why do those people do that? Because, for them, the dangerous habit gives comfort. It actually, as unbelievable as it might sound, makes them happy. That is why addictions are such tough nuts to crack.
My comforts are more prosaic these days (they weren’t always), and generally revolve around my home, creative expression in writing and painting, my love for my wife, and hers back for me, good food, coffee, friends, a certain routine in my day, pleasant memories, privacy, travel, and sunny days in spring. There are more, but you get the idea. And, if one of those things is not in place, then I am discontented. If my morning paper arrives too late for me to glance at it before breakfast, then I am discontented.
Sometimes, however, what comforts others we can find confusing, as in: “You like that ….? You actually find wrestling to be a worthy entertainment? You bought tickets to Barry Manilow? You thought trying crack cocaine might allow you to explore broader horizons?”
We had just that sort of thing happen a few months ago. I am not a person who likes to judge others in their behaviors. Whatever you want to do, provided it doesn’t hurt anybody else, is fine by me. Don’t expect me to take part, but you just go out and do whatever turns your crank.
Well, back in November we were in Europe, and during a brief visit to Brussels we had arranged to link up with some friends from home. And we did, and it was a really cool thing to do. The male of the couple equation is in the Air Force and they had just been stationed at NATO HQ in Brussels for the next four years. Anyway, we met, had a great lunch, and wandered the streets and avenues of the Belgian capital.
And then he wanted to go to this ‘place’. The place was a place where a body could go and smoke a hookah. Now, the hookah is something I associate with many years ago along with such accoutrements as Zig-Zag Papers, wacky-terbacky, and listening to Big Brother and the Holding Company for too long. Anyway, my friend had been stationed in Dubai the previous year, and he had gotten into hanging around ‘Shisha’ bars where Arabic menfolk gather to partake of the pipe. He loved it.
So, we went with him to this little hole-in-the-wall joint down a Brussels backstreet. His wife obligingly, but somewhat protestingly, went along with this. Well, this was the kind of place where you expected a guy with a curved dagger to come and sever a few arteries in your throat. In other words, it was ‘out-of-a-movie’ creepy. Interesting, but creepy. And he sat there smoking his pipe (just tobacco, by the way) and seemed almost blissed.
Now, a bit about my friend. He is a recovering alcoholic/addict, and has been clean and sober for about 20 years of real good sobriety. So, in a way, this seemed like kind of a dumb behavior for him to be indulging in. My wife Wendy thought so, too. After a while she couldn’t keep her thoughts within herself.
“Isn’t this kind of a silly thing for a recovering addict to be doing?” she said. Then the room went real quiet. Our friend laughed a bit self-consciously. And then we decided it had been a long day and maybe it was time to get back to our hotel.
But, I later thought, well, if that gives him comfort and makes him happy, who am I to judge? But, really thoughts went to the same place as Wendy’s.
So, wherein lie your comfort zones? What in your life is habitually satisfying enough that you would feel discomfort in giving it up?