There used to be a time when getting ‘sent to Coventry’ was one of the worst things that could happen to you (which I like to think I’ve proven extraordinarily untrue – y’all wish you were partying like me in the C.O.V.) However, these days it seems like there’s one worse place to find yourself: the comfort zone.
Yep, as countless Instagram quotes tell us, the comfort zone is the place where nothing good happens. It’s the place you need to push yourself out of. It’s the place only total doofuses hang.
But my question is this: er, why? It’s a thought that’s been on my mind several times lately. Once, when I was putting together this fairly simple but still-cute-if-I-do-say-so-m’self outfit. I had this sassy new wrap top from Tobi, and my instinct was to pair it with black skinnies and heels. ‘But wait’, my inner Trinny/Susannah* whispered, ‘isn’t that a bit basic? Shouldn’t you step out of your comfort zone a bit?’
‘AND WEAR IT WITH WHAT, TRINNY?’ I bellowed back, ‘ASSLESS CHAPS?!’
After all, what is so wrong with wearing something that you like, that flatters you and that you feel happy in? Yes I could get more style kudos by teaming it with something more extravagant, but it hardly seems worth it if I’m less happy.
*shout out to the ladies old enough to get that noughties reference
The second time that I questioned why everyone beefs with the comfort zone was when I was recently deliberating over whether to accept a new job. It involved a promotion, longer hours and more challenging work. In short, it was a step out of my comfort zone. After years of comfort zone propaganda, my instinct was to take it.
But again I started to wonder, what’s so wrong with being comfortable? The last time I checked, it wasn’t a negative adjective; and as anyone who spends 80% of their free time in a dressing gown (ie ME) will tell you, it sure isn’t a bad feeling.
In my current role, I work with people I love spending time with, am confident sharing ideas and feel that my opinions matter. And here’s the thing: some people will strive for that level of comfort their entire lives. For me, as someone who quite often feels like a bit of an outsider, that comfort zone is nothing to be sniffed at.
I ended up accepting the new job. Ha, hit you with a curve ball there, didn’t I?! But ultimately I reached that decision after weighing up numerous pros and cons of each role. It wasn’t based on the fact that I was simply ‘comfortable’.
These days it seems we’re always being pushed to want more, to challenge ourselves, to go the extra mile. Being content and comfortable are almost seen as synonymous with being lazy. I don’t think that’s the case at all. If anything, this constant surge – onwards, onwards, onwards – could be one of the reasons people my age feel so dissatisfied.
I mean, if we’re never just allowed to chill the fuck out in our comfort zones then when do we get a chance to appreciate what we have?
So there we go. It’s not as catchy as an Instagram quote, but there are my thoughts on comfort zones. Take a breather, do what makes you happy and move forward if and when you feel ready. The world is full of enough pressure; we don’t need to put anymore on ourselves.