Presently, my comfort zone is my couch! Yes, people. Having stumbled and sprinted through the daily rigmarole of house old chores, listening to son’s loudly resonating “You don’t let me do anything” intermittently when I try pleading him to take a break from his regular adventures of collecting insects and leaves from the garden (Son is going to First grade and so, is busy collecting souvenirs of nature for the new classmates!) and then, smiling bleakly when hubby asks if he could get a cup of tea, the couch of all places appears to be my comfort zone at the moment. It is here I stretch and yawn like a content Garfield and, put my indolent fingers to action to type about what it feels to be out of comfort zone! By the way, I love Garfield. Only because, I relate to this self announced cousin in more ways than one!
Now coming back to the topic of discussion today, what does it feel to be out of comfort zone? Magic? Wrong turn? Pothole? Road of thorns? Or, a fresh breather of evening air? Whenever I mull over the contentious comfort zone, it dawns on me that our definitions of the same, change with every stage we cross in life. Like, as a baby, the comfort zone is being held by the mother tightly against her bosom or, sleeping and dreaming sweetly on father’s warm shoulders. For the baby, stepping out of the comfort zone would mean taking the first baby steps into the park. Later, the steps progress into schooling years, games and academics, infatuations that accompany confusing teens and, then the ever challenging adulthood that makes one feel….childhood was a lot simpler! Aren’t we all tired ‘adult’-ing?
The very purpose of Life is to displace you!
So, stepping out of comfort zone is not a new concept to humans. Neither is it, to birds, animals, insects etc… In fact, it is quite a revelation to watch a butterfly spread out its crumpled wings with some difficulty as, it slips out of the cocoon and, works tirelessly on its first flight to freedom. Or, seeing a tigress train her cubs by seemingly throwing them to danger by lurking in the background to step in only if the hunting requires her agility is yet another way of Nature saying – You cannot languish in a phase of life! If you observe the way birds prod their young ones to fly….it is an eye opener on how Nature has designed the inmates of this beautiful planet. I have had the privilege of watching this phenomenon in 2014. We had been away from home for over a month. So, when we returned we found that a happy lovey dovey sparrow couple had nested on our shoe rack in our balcony. The eggs had hatched and, the parents were busy feeding the babies. It was a divine sight. After a few days, the first two which were the fast learners easily flew after a few hours of rigorous flapping. However, the third baby took its own sweet time. And, that sweet little time amounted to three whole days that was draining the parents’ drum of patience! And, why not? Cats are excellent climbers after all, unlike dogs! Each day, the mother and father sparrow would chirp endlessly. The chirping sounded like a reprimand, at times, like pleading and at times, like a fully pumped up encouragement. The parents wanted their weak baby to make its first move out of the nest. And, after two days, it did with great difficulty and, landed on the railing. And, it sat there for hours without moving! Even for my son who was three years old then, it was evident that the baby was scared of falling off the railing. The baby sat still for about eighteen hours before it started flapping its wings given the cold night (Working out always gives warmth!) The parents were also decreasing the perimeter of comfort zone by flying further and further away. This baby had its moment of epiphany when the blazing Sun, the next day started perhaps burning its soft skin and, it started taking tiny steps away from the Sun. And in doing so, it reached the end of railing where it spent sitting still again for a few more hours. It probably dawned on the baby that, it had no other way but to flap and fly! As if it got some sign from Mother Nature, it took its first flight in the late evening. In the first go, it did go down but, somehow the vigorous flapping gave it the confidence that was further fueled now by its parents and siblings that were circling it from far. As I watched the baby sparrow fly into the dusk, I felt an assurance of sorts. Well, it did fly after all! I learned something that day – Even if you want to be in a comfort zone or, have got used to a comfortable phase in life, destiny will play its hidden cards and displace you eventually!
Now the other part of the discussion is – Are comfort zones good or bad? Well, it is like asking whether growing up is a choice! As adults, we look back and find childhood to be a comfortable phase where we did not have much to worry about! However, as children, there was some internal push to grow up into adults soon, assuming independence is an unconditional luxury. The clause – Conditions Apply comes only later into picture. Truth to be said, it is a basic nature of any living person on this planet to seek change when (s)he is stuck in a stagnant phase that is neither putting him in a tight spot nor, is getting him something ‘extra’. Was that a rhetorical? Yes, sort of.
Comfort zone is where you must prepare!
Comfort zone is where you undergo two kinds of feelings. Either, you start believing that this is the phase you want to be in and, decide to revel in it mindlessly OR, you start preparing like the meticulous ant to brace yourself for predictably unpredictable changes that might come your way. It is also during the time you spend in comfort zone that, the destiny also moves its pawns in a coveted fashion. Stagnating in a phase perhaps, leads you into easily being check mated in a fair and square fashion. Perhaps that is the reason, a comfort zone must be looked upon as a momentary pause, where one ponders deeply over the goals to be met, actions to be taken, relations to be mended and maintained and, seeking more connection with self.
A life cycle has been designed in a way that when you look back, you only realize that what you thought in a bygone phase as a comfort zone, is no longer what it was. You can only look forward and, move on. That is perhaps Nature’s way of addressing the punch line – You just cannot get too comfortable with life, child!
Apparently, it is dinner time now and, now I have to move my bum off the couch! OUCH!
Life is like that, Friend!