I’m thinking of setting up a Comfort Zone in my house: cushions, bean bags, maybe a hammock and a massage chair. Probably the best quote I heard about this was: ‘A Comfort Zone sounds like such a nice place to be, but the only time we ever hear of it is when we’re being told to get out of it.’
In the real world, I find I operate well in my Comfort Zone: give me a bar I like, with friends I know and love, maybe some live music to participate in, and I can be the King of the World. Albeit a particularly small world.
If you’ll forgive a Formula One analogy, I’m a bit like Jenson Button: when everything’s in place, the temperature’s right, the set-up perfect on a track I enjoy, then I’m unbeatable. Unfortunately, it’s not every day everything falls that way.
At the moment, my whole life is outside my Comfort Zone. Whenever I leave the house it’s to new territory, with new people, in new situations; even work is far from soft and fluffy. And enough time hasn’t passed for me to forget the life of Riley I had in Leamington Spa. As someone said: ‘Time is not the great healer, it’s memory loss’ and I still grieve often the loss of my life there.
All this presents a glaring problem: if I’m only able to be my best-self – the outgoing, funny, generous and carefree Martin – when I’m ‘comfortable’, then making new friends and a new life is going to be mighty difficult.
Nobody wants to leave a Comfort Zone, because it’s, well, comfortable. But even our Comfort Zones were new to us once. I went out last night and had one of my most uncomfortable evenings in a long time. Today, I mostly want to retreat and hide away forever in my little house where I am comfortable (though it is lamentably lacking a hammock and massage chair).
But I know the right thing to do is pick myself up, dust myself down, and try again.
I’m just gonna have a little nap first...