Comfort Zones

People always say Comfort Zones aren't the places for you to grow. While I agree with this statement, I believe Comfort Zones help you to recharge as well. I spent the last 4 weeks back home in Asia and currently typing this post in Japan. Not touching code for more than a month has made me anxious, but resting and reconnecting with family and friends have energised me to focus once I get back to NYC.

I want to share some thoughts about my recent experience back home, to my Comfort Zones.

1. Time flies in Comfort Zones, unproductively.

I remember dreading the time when I was stuck in my small rental room in NYC working on code everyday. Yes I liked the productivity, but it got boring easily. Time flies in Comfort Zones because I wasn't doing anything important besides spending time with loved ones and just taking it easy. End of the day, I feel kind of guilty. I tried to work a little but it is really hard because the environment just isn't conducive. What I realised from this past month is that our environment is the major factor of what we can do. If we are surrounded by people working on the same goals and our working setup is suitable for getting into the flow-state (minimum disturbance), it is so much more likely we can do great work fast. Try to arrange some low-force productive work during down times in Comfort Zones (such as reflecting, reading).

2. Comfort Zones remind us why we do what we do.

The hustle culture wants us to forget about pleasures and work on the grind. Comfort Zones have been demonised, but Comfort Zones exists because they are what we are used to. Comfort Zones have family, friends, familiar food, familiar work, familiar experiences, and the reasons why we wanted to leave it. They are peaceful, and that is why we leave it. But coming back to them from time to time not only recharges our batteries but also give us the motivation to go out into the wild and pursue what we want again, fully rested.

At least that's for me. It seems like a period of intense focus follwed by a period in the Comfort Zones work pretty well for me. Isn't this the original reason for the 5 days work week followed by 2 days weekend? Maybe an evolved version should be 2 months of intense work and 1 month of total break. That maybe a better way to live.

3. My skin is finally better.

As mentioned here, one of the most important reasons why I went back to Asia for 5 weeks is to test if my health can finally tolerate the Asian climate. If my health before going to the USA is 50%, now it is a solid 80-90%. My skin rashes still affect my thighs mostly, but my feet and torso etc are mostly clear as compared to last time. This is very good news if I can keep up the recovery process with dieting and exercise for the next few years. Hopefully I can finally settle back in Asia.

4. My social circle has moved on.

My grandparents and parents, while still healthy, have gotten noticeably older, my 2 younger brothers are moving on in their lives in national service/ university, my friends are mostly getting married (meaning paid for an apartment) or already have child/children. I don't think I have much going on in Singapore really, perhaps I am always kind of the weird one, but after a short span of 16 months in USA, I feel a lot more alienated back in Singapore. Regardless, I do want to be close to home in the long term, after all the asian value of family still run strong in me.

Next steps

Can't wait to get back to the grind in NYC. I feel that the next 1-2 years will be life-changing for me. See you again, Asia.