Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Comfort Zone or The Discomfort Zone

In the book Finding Paradise by Michele Ashman Bell, there are two main characters. Morgan, the heroin, lives her life as a responsible, predictable person who never does anything different than the norm. When her roommate decides to get married in Cancun and asks her to be the maid of honor, she feels like she should go. She plans on spending the week just sitting by the pool and reading magazines, and she feels like she may just go home early. She lives her whole life inside her comfort zone. However, she meets Justin, a fun loving guy who sees life as one big adventure. In fact, a comment in the book is, "He seems to spend more time in his discomfort zone than in his comfort zone." He helps her see that some of the things we're scared of can really be fun instead of scary. Even if they are scary for awhile, they are actually truly fun in the end.

When I look at my life, it's hard to recognize where the comfort zone ends and where the discomfort zone begins. When I first moved to the south, I viewed it as an adventure. I love to see new places and things. However, once I was here for a while, then any place outside of my house became the discomfort zone. Going to Wal-mart where I couldn't understand people was uncomfortable. I was extremely uncomfortable any time someone called me ma'am. Instead of addressing people by Mr. or Mrs. and their surnames, people are addressed by Mr. or Miss and their first names. No matter how old I get, I'll still be Miss Ellie in the south. I'm starting to get used to that, but in the west, if people say "Yes, ma'am," it's like calling someone a little old lady. If you want to get a lady's attention in the west, "Excuse me miss. Can I ask you a question?" The only times you use ma'am is in sticky customer service situations. Now, however, I have grown used to the way things work here, and I'm now comfortable walking around the south. I'm looking forward to some new adventures this summer still. I hope to find a couple chances to enlarge my comfort zone.

This post is part of the Hump Day Hmm at Julie Pippert's Blog.

11 comments:

wheelsonthebus said...

Every time I move, I find that the new traditions become a part of an expanding comfort zone in the way you describe.

Robert said...

The South I grew up in was not like the South where I now live in that way, but then people here would say I'm not really from the South, but instead am an "Atlanta Yankee". All the same, it took some getting used to for me, even as a Southerner.

Melissa said...

You are so right about the "Miss First Name here" thing. It doesn't bother me much since I grew up here, but seeing others, especially from the north deal with it can be amusing.

Unfortunately, now I'll be hearing the "Dallas" theme whenever I go to your blog, Miss Ellie.

le35 said...

Well, I think that I have been very blessed to have my comfort zone grow here, but I am also ready for it to grow somewhere else.

Melissa,

I'm sorry that you'll be hearing the Dallas theme song now. It's too bad I don't live in Dallas. ;)

Florinda said...

I actually like that "Miss Firstname" thing. I miss it now that I live out west. But even though I really am in the "ma'am" age range now, I still don't like it :-).

I think I know what you mean about it being hard to tell exactly where the boundary is between the comfort and discomfort zones.

Blogversary said...

Good luck w/ your transition!

anniegirl1138 said...

Relocating is always a jolt.

Julie Pippert said...

How interesting to read yours right after Emily's.

It's nice to learn about new places and get to experience them, but after reading both of yours I also felt a wee bit sad, as in it's too bad we've gotten to mobile, in a way, to lose our own customs and sense of place and belonging. That's me projecting because i STILL have a hard time answering the Q: where are you from?

Katie said...

It's interesting that you blog about this as it has been on my mind a lot lately. (Actually for the last three years, as fighting the gap between the two is a daily battle with Ethan) That is one of our goals for the summer, to deal with the discomfort better. So when we go to the store and they have watermellons in the entry way instead of the flowers they had last week we won't have a total melt down, you know, things like that:)
I am really proud of you for adjusting to living there so well. I know that kind of culture change would be hard for me. I am still trying to adjust to moving to the other side of Utah, the other side of the country would be hard. You are so brave:)

le35 said...

Thanks everyone for all your great comments! The all make me think.

Darlene said...

I enjoyed that book.