I have had such a chat with myself over the last few weeks. Mainly it goes like this:
Me – Hmm, I have an invite to a really interesting gathering, it’ll be fun. I should go.
Me – Yes, definitely. Go. But it’s so cold out and the sofa is so cosy. Also, you’ve put on a bit of weight and you haven’t got anything to wear. Or, you have, but it doesn’t fit how you’d like it to. But you should go. But on the other hand, nobody would care if you were there or not. It’s not as if they would exactly miss you is it? Still…
Me – You’re right. Nobody is going to miss me and I’m feeling a little bit crap, so best I stay in and eat some pizza and watch Celebrity. And drink wine. Nice. Sounds lovely. I will do that instead of going to the party.
Me – Yes, it does sound nice. So, you want to stay in that comfort zone then, yeah? Can’t be bothered to show your face because you’re too busy flopping out, wallowing in your comfort zone. What is it that you’re all for – isn’t it pro-ageing, vitality, getting on and living life and pushing through discomfort and fear to come out the other side saying ‘well, that was okay, and it didn’t kill me’ or even ‘flipping hell, that was great and I can do it?!’ What are you all about, Lis?
Me – Oh shit, yep, you’re right. I am all for telling everyone else – ‘yeah, go out there and do it! You’re never too old, you can be and do what you want. Age has no limits…blah blah blah…’
That’s a regular conversation with myself. And the thing is, I honestly do believe that we should be going out there and achieving things, enjoying things, experiencing new things and having a fulfilled and exciting life, no matter who we are or what we look like or what we have. We all deserve to make the most of life and the time that we have here on our fabulous planet. But that Comfort Zone is such a wiley, conniving and enticing little mare, isn’t she? Add cold, winter weather, a touch of down-in-the-hormonal-dumps and Comfort Zone looks like your best friend.
My reckoning is that you can love your Comfort Zone and take solace in her now and then – and enjoy every little moment of that puffy, plump softness of her cacooning embrace – BUT, don’t get stuck in her clutches for ever else it can be a disaster and one that will lead to you regretting taking chances and giving things a go. Don’t let that happen, no matter how tempting!
So, back to the beginning of the story and that weird conversation I had with myself. I was invited to a really amazing party – it was the Cosmo Team of the 1980s/90s reunion. I had drunk a little too much the night before and it was cold and dark and I was in my new favourite Boden slippers, tucked up on the sofa eating pizza (what’s new?). I had told myself I wasn’t going to go, nobody was going to miss me. It would be a shame but….Comfort Zone was holding me tight. It was only when Stressed Husband said ‘Have a word with yourself! These Cosmo women were your friends. Cosmo was the place you started as an inexperienced 20 year old from an Acton comprehensive and these women mentored you and inspired you to follow your dream to write and travel the world. And you are not going to show your face?’ Oh. Excuse me. But since when did Stressed Husband start chanelling the foresight of Oprah Winfrey? But he was right. It’s exactly what I would’ve told anybody else and why on earth would I want to miss it? Within 20 minutes, I’d slapped on some lippie, tied my hair in a messy bun, slipped on some heels and a pink faux fur coat and was in an Uber zooming to ‘my Cosmo Girls.’
It was amazing! Nobody had changed – well, we all had – it was 30 years later, for heaven’s sake – but fundamentally we were the same, ballsy, intelligent, fabulous women and men, as we were all those years ago. I had a blast catching up with everyone and nearly every woman I spoke to had felt a bit like me before the reunion, and had wondered whether they should stay at home, thinking nobody would miss them. But we made the effort and everyone of us was delighted that we had. Just shows you doesn’t it – that Comfort Zone can’t keep a good woman down. So don’t let it!