Comfort Zones

I’ve recently begun to think about what the word, comfortable, really means. Often times the word is associated with the word safe, but really the situation is only safe because it is familiar, so the only thing we’re really safe from is trying something new. This begs the question, is that real safety?

If living a comfortable life means living a life where we never pass over the lines of familiarity into the great unknown, can what we’re doing still be called living? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines life as, “the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual.” Now in some ways, this could be interpreted as the physical action of breathing in and out and all the other technical bodily functions that keep us alive. I believe, though, that  there is some significance in the word experience that goes past the basic definition of living.

I’m going to focus for just a little bit on the part that says, “physical and mental experiences.” Living life means that we  don’t just taste and see, which fall under the categories of physical and mental experiences, but that we taste things that are new and exciting and we see things that amaze and humble us.

The beauty of the senses are sometimes so completely underrated and so often taken for granted. Our ability to smell, hear, see, taste, and touch are beautiful gifts given to us by God to enjoy the world He has made. He could have not given us eyes to see the sun rise and fall. He could have created us without ears to hear the birds singing their beautiful songs. He could have not given us taste buds to enjoy every delicious part of our food. He could have not made us with the ability to smell the beautiful scent of a flower in bloom. He could have made us without the ability to feel the comfort of a loved-one’s embrace. None of these are needs. The senses are not involved in the basic systems in our body that keep us alive, granted they do make life easier, but mostly they make life rich. So if we posses all of these gifts that are a part of our everyday life but do not technically contribute to the functions of living, then that means there has to be so much more to life.

Now I know I have now gone on this long tangent with senses, but trust me I am going somewhere with this.

So you know when we hear or smell something and immediately recognize it, or do not. Well if it’s the latter then we begin to wonder what we heard or smelled; we become curious. This goes back to a completely normal human instinct to wonder about the world around us. We are already instinctively wondering about the world and searching to learn more, the next step would be immersing ourselves in that curiosity. Traveling to a new place, surrounding ourselves with different people, tasting bizarre foods would all be wonderful ways to attain new knowledge and let the curiosity lead us.

Have you ever been way way outside your comfort zone or experienced what is often called, culture shock? It is in this moment when all of your senses seem like they’re going on overdrive. You don’t recognize anything you see, or hear, or even smell. I would argue though, that this is a wonderful way to live life. In those moments we are completely out of our comfortzones, because none of our senses can grasp anything familiar. In this situation, if curiosity were given the opportunity to take the lead, some much new and exciting knowledge could be gained.

If we remain in our nice little, comfortable bubble, we will miss the world around us. I wish to live full of unfamiliarity and through this learn the many secrets the world has to offer, and I wish this for you too.

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