By Mims Cushing
mail@floridanewsline.com

I’ve been thinking about comfort zones lately. My granddaughter, Mackenzie, a rising college junior, is off to Spain studying for a month.

“It will take me out of my comfort zone, Grammie,” she explained.

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These days, out of my comfort zone is dealing with Kennedy Airport.

“It’s like a cattle call, Jay,” I complained to my son. “It’s horrible.” Flying out of New York’s LaGuardia might be a mess too as they are renovating. I haven’t solved that dilemma.

I love my comfort zone. I revel in it just like the cat who snuggles in a couch on Pinterest who says, “I love you couch. You understand me.” I love sending sayings to my kids. I love, “Follow Your Butterflies.” And Alfred Einstein said, “A ship is always safe at shore, but that is not what it’s built for.”

When I have ventured out of my comfort zone, I haven’t loved it. Like the time a friend took me to Playland in Rye, N.Y. to ride the Dragon Coaster, which I’d managed to avoid all my life even though it was 10 minutes away from our house. I didn’t want him to think I was a wimp, so I did it. He asked me to marry him three days later. So the roller coaster was worth it.

Go ahead and call me a wimp. Hey! I enjoy being a wimp. My little wimpy world is the coziest place on the planet. It starts off around 7:30 a.m. with a blueberry and almond smoothie, with walnuts and spinach. I take a newspaper to a chaise somewhere in my back 40. Well, okay, my back quarter-acre. Bliss. Sometimes I bring a harder-than-usual crossword puzzle book to rejuvenate my brain. By the way, I’ve discovered some people aren’t even comfortable in their comfort zone. Larry David says his comfort zone is about half an inch wide.

A nice feature about getting older is that you can chose to fill up the day with things you love, and that aren’t scary. Just getting older is scary enough with all the medical drama your body hands you.

When I was the mother of teenagers, I was forced into doing a lot of scary, out-of-my-comfort zone things, such as driving in the dark through a January blizzard to get my daughter to a party in the deep wilds of backwoods Connecticut — no GPS and no cell phone to call the hostess to help me find my way.

I thought majoring in piano in college would be fun until I realized I’d have to give recitals. True story: A girl in my dorm was so out of her mind with fear at the mere thought of her solo performance that she gouged her fingers with a pair of scissors to get out of playing her recital. I didn’t go to that length. I merely changed my major to French.

Sometimes we get out of comfort zones and the end result is worth it. I didn’t give a second thought to being pregnant and giving birth in my twenties. The whole specter of parenthood throws you out of your comfort zone, such as when the kids leave the nest. Isn’t it nice that we don’t have the option to give birth when we are in our seventies?

These days, out of my comfort zone means trying a new variety of tea. As I watch those American Ninja Warriors on TV, I drink my hibiscus tea, happy it’s them, not me.

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