My Couch, My Crutch: Breaking free of the comfort zone

(A quick caveat: pardon my self-indulgence in this entry… I’m in a mood… 🙂 )

I have two mismatched sofas in my living room. They’re the same length, face each other and are separated by a coffee table – I like to call it my “conversation area.” One sofa is newer and matches the armchair in my bedroom; the other is this ratty, old sofa-bed I got eight years ago at Goodwill for $25. Technically they match but only because the thrift store one is hidden under a forest green sofa cover so you can’t see the frayed fabric and stains that existed even before it came into my home. Admittedly, it’s an eyesore and every time I look at it, I think about how much I need to get rid of that old sofa – but I never do. I can’t.

The last few years have been spent trying to break free of bad habits and unhealthy patterns, and challenge myself to act outside of my comfort zone. Professionally, I did stuff like quitting my job without a backup, working for $10/hour at my then-dream job, switching industries and sharing my private thoughts with strangers (ahem, this blog). Personally, I re-entered the dating world, learned to swim, took up running and joined an all-women’s SoCal surf group through MeetUp.com. But more importantly, I try to speak my mind without fearing confrontation, be less judgmental and self-righteous, ask for help when I need it, and make a bigger effort to stay in touch with friends. Change does not come easy but I have good intentions at becoming a better, more mature person.

But there’s something about that sofa. The truth is that ugly, dirty, lumpy piece of goodness represents something more than just extra seating. It’s a piece of me – my history – and I’m scared to let go of it. It’s like letting go of that younger, sweeter me who lived off $24K a year, viewed the world with wide-eyes, and thought that shabby sofa was so perfect I made my friend come down with a truck immediately – before anyone else could take it. I don’t know that I’m ready to say goodbye to that “me” yet or to that incredibly comfortable comfort zone.

Life without that couch is unfamiliar. Open. Potentially uncomfortable. What other changes will there be personally and professionally? As my friends’ lives evolve with marriage and children, who do I turn to for counsel and comfort? What’s going to fill all of that empty space in my living room? My future husband’s recliner? A playpen? Or just the armchair in my bedroom? I have no idea… but I do know that the next time I move, that couch most likely won’t make the trip with me and I’ll have to adjust.

And yes, I know: It’s only a couch.