My Comfort Zone

If I had to pick a place to be it would very likely be somewhere near water. I don’t love being in water, unless it is very warm outside or very warm in the water (I don’t like being cold), but I do very much like being water adjacent. That is, I like being able to put my feet in the water, and walk next to the water, to smell the water and be within sight for sure. Presently I live in a house where I can see water from all the front rooms and I can be next to water if I drive for fifteen or twenty minutes, that’s pretty much my ideal.

I would not pick being in the air because I do not like to be in the air. That probably has something to do with wanting to be in control and the fact that I am completely out of control when I am in the air. I am not a natural creature of the air what with not having wings and all, and I am not a fan of the sensation of being aloft or high above the earth. I appreciate the miracle that is an airplane and am grateful for the places it allows me to go – chief among those work because well, there is a mortgage on the house with the view of the water, but I just don’t like being in the air. I also don’t particularly like time-travel, which is a consequence of most air travel and the work I do, anyway that is the situation.

I am writing this essay from the air and so I would like to acknowledge and appreciate the inspiration, but the whole process is anxiety producing if I am totally honest with myself. The pilot, who one would presume likes to be in the air plenty fine just got on the intercom to say something to the effect of, “please get back in your seat because we are flying through a lightening storm and there is going to be some light chop.” This does not seem to be a bother for him since he was upbeat and chipper, but for those of us who are land and/or water creatures “light chop” is what I want in the form of lettuce with blue cheese, not transportation.

But sometimes we all have to leave the place that feels comfortable and safe for us. If only for the purpose of challenging ourselves and learning something more about who we are. You don’t know that you prefer strawberry ice cream to chocolate if you have only ever eaten strawberry. But I think too that once you know something about yourself it is okay to really know that and to accept the truth of how you feel. Often there is pressure to like something that others like, or try it one more time, or not get stuck in our ways. Some times it is really important to push ourselves and sometimes it is really important to honor our truth. I don’t like to fly but I do fly, occasionally I have tried to take the tack of pretending it’s a roller-coaster and I’m just having fun, but I don’t like roller-coasters either so that didn’t work. Instead in heavy turbulence I meditate and that’s works for me.

Knowing where we are comfortable doesn’t mean that we should never leave our comfort zone, it just means that we know something more about who we are and we can take better care of ourselves when we are not comfortable. Something changes when we acknowledge how we really feel about something; it makes it a little easier, a little less fraught perhaps. Since I started to admit that I don’t like flying I am actually less grumpy on the plane, I pay more attention to my level of anxiety and I ask for comfort when I need it. I don’t always get what I need but know that I have a choice and that alone seems to help. It’s kind of like flying in my mind, it’s magic!

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