14 July 2011

In The Comfort Zone...
I'm getting to the age now where I like things that are comfortable.
Gimme a nice "comfy chair" (as portrayed in the Monty Python skit "Spanish Inquisition") any day.
A comfy SOFA is even better...(especially after a big meal)...LOL.
And a comfy BED is sheer KISMET!
I'm also sure we all have had at one time or another a pair of old, COMFY shoes.
You remember those shoes...you didn't just wear them, but rather allowed them to cradle your feet, and the more you wore them, the better they felt.
Hard to buy THOSE off the shelves these days, I can tell you.
There was a store in Philly I passed EVERY day to and from the job...called Nunn-Bush (8th & Chestnut Sts), and in the window, they had this ONE pair of shoes I fell in love with (if such a thing can be said about polished leather).
They were slip-on dress shoes with a bit of a slightly-stacked heel...sold for $59.99 (down from $79.99) and back in the mid 1970s, that was a LOT for a pair of shoes.
One day, I went in, tried them on, and they felt fantastic...like the inside of a well worn baseball glove...the leather was that supple.
Finally, I made he decision to put them on "lay-a-way", paying about $5-$10 a week.
When the day came to take them home, I was ecstatic, and my folks wondered what would possess me to spend THAT much on shoes.
And then Dad looked them over from top to bottom, and said: 'That's a damn nice shoe...well made".
YES...the official parental "seal of approval"...I done good.
I was careful to not wear them every day...they were too nice for that (and I had other shoes for daily use), but I would pull them out for special events.
I have worn them to both my parents' funerals, and both my weddings.
I STILL have those shoes, and they are OLDER than my car...some things are worth hanging on to.
And I most likely will be buried in them. (hey, you never know how much walking you'll be doing in the afterlife...I hear it's a BIG place)
They are JUST as comfortable as the day I first slipped them on (and they look like they just came out of the store window).
Every one of us has something we like because it makes us feel comfortable.
And many times, we can even feel comfortable with WHO WE ARE.
After many years of diligence, persistence, and a curious mix of blood, sweat, tears, and a few bucks, hopefully, we've become someone we can feel comfortable with.
And we might not even achieve the "success" we were looking for in those halcyon days of our youth.
it's not that we settled for something LESS...we've just found something BETTER.
Okay, so maybe we don't make a half-million a year, own 3 homes (you can only live in ONE at a time anyway), 4 cars (can only DRIVE one at a time, as well), and the like.
Maybe, we just have one house on a nondescript street in some city in America.
And maybe we've only ONE car (that might be older than dirt...lol), but it runs well whenever it has to.
We tend to find, or rather discover that what we initially wanted from life was not what we got, but what we HAVE in life is what we needed.
And yes, we can get comfortable with that.
We worked for it, we sacrificed for it, but moreover...we EARNED it.
All the toil and all the striving we find was pretty much worth it.
And then something curious happens...things start to turn back on themselves.
Like life...there is always change occurring.
Friends and family pass on, and the world keeps going.
Places and things change, and not always for the best, and the world keeps going.
And some days , you wake up and wonder if this IS the same world you were born into.
Your comfort zone is not quite the same any longer.
So you adapt to retain your zone.
"We are at the age where life stops giving to you and starts taking away."
That is a quote from the movie: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and when I heard that said to Jones by the dean of the university, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Sure, when we were young hellions bent on changing the world, we NEVER thought about what the world would take away from us.
Hell, we thought we were damn near invincible AND immortal.
(talk about rude awakenings)
When we adapt to things around us, we have to tread carefully, because we do not necessarily want to change who WE are, but rather how we perform...how we navigate in an ever-changing world.
And I believe in many respects, most of us are comfortable in doing that.
We "go with the flow", taking care to not be swamped by waves, currents and eddys in the waters of life.
But who we have become remains intact.
Outside influences will always be there to "test our mettle", seeing if we are willing to change along with the world.
I will say this much...PEOPLE rarely change, good OR bad, but the surroundings, the circumstances that promote change will ALWAYS do so.
That will yank us from our own comfort zones, if we become TOO comfortable and let our guard down.
And that will make us UNcomfortable.
We ALL know about THAT side of the coin, don't we?
Just as we have shoes that fit like a glove, we can come across shoes that hurt like hell.
And we can have a mattress or chair with a busted spring.
Or, we have clothes that are too tight or ill-fitting (see my share of that every day).
Now THAT crap IS uncomfortable.
But being uncomfortable is a motivating factor is getting something done to RELIEVE that feeling.
And it can carry over into what makes US who we are.
If we have a part of our lives that doesn't "fit" right..we usually do something about it.
That can include anything from a divorce, to a career swap, to moving elsewhere...or maybe all three.
( I speak from experience here, trust me)
This is not being selfish, however.
We do such things for our own sanity, and because to NOT do something like I just said would cause (often) irreparable damage to ourselves as well as others, in ways we can only imagine..
Think of it as a form of "survival instinct".
Now I said all THAT...to say THIS:
Sadly, we've too many people that are comfortable in their own right for the wrong reasons, and who have become so by living off of others, simply because they don't WANT to do for themselves.
It's not that they're handicapped...just damn lazy.
People will feign poverty out one side of their mouth, while asking a salesperson to wrap up that 60 inch big screen TV out the other.
Or, they will annoy other people because they are comfortable in doing so (they rarely if ever get caught).
They might even lie, cheat and steal to achieve what THEY consider to be THEIR comfort zones...many times at the expense of the lives and possessions of decent folks. It could be considered a form of JEALOUSY.
What type of "comfort" is that, anyway?
We need to take a page out of Ben Franklin's book of sage wisdom, for he said:
"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer."
--On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor (29 November 1766)
If people are made to feel UNEASY about certain things, they will remove themselves from the predicament, be it poverty, avarice, gluttony, or even sloth. But when such behaviors are rewarded, that only encourages them to become even MORE comfortable in such pursuits.
I think we can say we're comfortable in that assessment, right?
In the end, you can only take from this world what you brought into it.
What you LEAVE BEHIND though, is far more lasting, because it affects every single person you have come into contact with.
And if what is left behind is a level of ill-gained comfort at the expense of others, that's not much of a testament, except to one's stupidity.
If, on the other hand, you leave behind the knowledge and wisdom that the comfort YOU derived from your life was not built upon the backs of others, BUT nurtured by your OWN labors, and then passed along to those you knew...well, now THAT is a legacy.
And a damn fine one, to boot.
Be well, make a difference to someone, and...
Stay safe out there, America.


CWMartin said...

Well put- by you and Ben.

Bob G. said...

It's just what I've come to know...that's all.
As for Ben?
Well, he saw the writing on the wall (and it didn't say "crips")

Were he here, I'm sure he'd thank you.
So, in his stead, I will thank you for the both of us.

And thanks for taking time to stop on by today.

Stay safe up there.

John D said...

Old Ben nailed it. If you subsidize something (e.g. poverty), you get MORE of it. I'd like to think this is obvious, but this simple fact apparently eludes our "ruling class."
Good post, Bob.

Bob G. said...

John D.:

Then maybe it's long past time we "change" that ruling class back into the HIRED class.

Because, we all know that's what a civil SERVANY is, right?

Servants NEVER "run OR own the manor".
The OWNER allows the hired servants to perform tasks that allow the manor to operate in an EFFICIENT way.
It's that simple.

Ben was really on HIS game.

Glad you liked the post.

And thanks a lot for rolling on up today to comment.

Stay safe.

Wrexie said...

Hmmm. Intereting and timely post. Well said. Ben has a point. Life can motivate you to work harder... or give up, (or settle) depending on what you're made of. Never good to help someone give up by rewarding them for it. Our welfare system is a disaster.

I started a new job today. Not one I'll ever get past mere survival with... and after work, was offered a job with limitless potential. But I'd have to trust a potential in me I've never seen.

Am I brave enough? I hope so.

Bob G. said...

I think you have what it takes to be properly motivated to do what you believe to be correct...

Besides, you live in God's country...and near wildfires.
Amd that's NOT for any old Johnny or Jane.
You've got a heap of that pioneer spirit, it would seem.

As to the job front...?
You never know the limit of your potential IF you never explore it.

It's like an attic full of old stuff. You never just toss things out WITHOUT first looking into every nook & cranny.
You might come across something of MEANING...or VALUE.

I wish you the best in whatever decision you make.

And thanks so much for stopping on by today.

Stay safe out there
(man, I HATE those big spiders!!!)