1 bowl of macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes or meatloaf
A pinch of a sunny day
7 hours of a good show on Netflix
2 hours of a massage
A dash of relief
Comfort is the ultimate recipe. It is about providing someone with something to make them feel better. Comfort is being a good friend and giving someone the time of day. Believing in what comes around comes around means that if you provide someone with comfort, something will come to you. To be comforted means that someone cares about you, and to comfort someone means that you have a heart enough to take someone under your wing and make sure that they will be okay. Comfort is a combination of many things; atmosphere, food, the people around you, and what is currently sitting in front of you. Many people look for comfort when things go wrong, and they hope for people to surround them when the going gets rough.
Right now, we’re all just enjoying our last few months left of mandatory public education, before we are thrown into the big abyss known as “college”. Many of us are used to being away from home, on trips or just being with friends all the time. Others have never spent a day outside of New England, and are dreading it. The days of living on our own and becoming adults are closer than they appear. In mere months, we will be taking our first college finals, going to parties and breaking through our shell. Most of the people we have surrounded ourselves with for the past four years will only be memories and we will see most of these people in 10 years at the reunion. What is comfortable to us now, will not be the same comfort that we will have in a year’s time. We will divulge our secrets to our roommates, instead of the girl that you gossiped with in study hall. We will learn new room numbers of classrooms, and your best friend’s address will soon be the room down the hall, instead of the one down the block. These changes are coming faster than they appear, and you really start to learn that time flies, and it goes faster and faster every year. There is nothing that can slow it down, but the best thing to do is slow down and enjoy the changes in comfort, and embrace it in every way.
What if comfort didn’t exist? Where would we be? We would be in a dark world where no one would thrive. I picture that it would be similar to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Politeness would be an urban legend, the only food would be stale kale, and the days would be long and cold. The Earth may as well be a barren wasteland. We take this for granted more than we realize. Sometimes, we may take our friends for granted as well. We don’t know all the comfort that we receive from them, until we realize it is gone. Comfort is only partly a necessity. We could well survive without it, but would we be truly happy? Hardly. As children, if someone didn’t come along with a bandage for our scraped knee, we would learn agony and pain. But most of us had a loving parent to come along and pick us up and teach us to get back on that bike again. From a young age, we were told to bring kindness to others, whether it be giving someone a shoulder to lean on in a difficult time, or just simply holding a door open. We were told that small acts of kindness make all the difference to someone. Comfort and kindness go hand-in-hand, and we need more of both in this world. A small act can go a long way.
The wind chill sits below zero. Roads have become a sheet of ice, cars won’t start, school becomes delayed or canceled. It can seem hard to be optimistic and comfortable in this atmosphere. Some people like this dramatic cold, although I am not one of them. To keep comfortable in the cold, I employ lots of layers of warm clothing. North Face jackets, Ugg boots, fuzzy socks, and infinity scarves. Fleece blankets are a lifesaver at night, especially the oversized ones. In my car, heated seats are my vice, I make sure to start my car ahead of time to make sure they will be ready. A propane fireplace in the living room makes for a cozy environment and chases away the winter blues. The company of friends and family also makes the cold weather more bearable. It is going to be a long and tedious winter ahead, and it seems like spring, summer (graduation) are far away. But, it is going to be our last winter as high school students and we should just ride along, with as much comfort as possible.
It’s a cold, winter day. A winter storm has just hit the region. Power has been knocked out; the power lines have been downed. Wow, this could be something to go down in the record books. The weatherman didn’t have any idea that the storm could bring the snow up past your kneecaps. You wrap a blanket around yourself and sit in front of the fire with your parents and older brother, listening to the radio, sipping hot chocolate made from the hot water you could get from the generator. This is really spooky, and being with your family makes all the difference. Being with people you love in times of uncertainty truly does make you feel better.
The next morning, the skies are clear. The snow plows haven’t even touched your road yet, but the storm has passed. Everything outside is a frosty winter wonderland. Icicles hang from the trees like Popsicles on sticks. You go outside and shovel the walkways and deck with your brother, but take an occasional break to have a snowball war with the fresh, packing snow, perfect for making the perfect snowball. When you’re a kid, there’s nothing that feels better than to have a snowball war with a sibling or friend, no matter how old you are. Soon, you are called inside by your mother. The power is back on. You’re shaking, and you drop your boots, coat, hat, gloves, and mittens on the floor. The house smells heavenly. There, on the stove, is a huge pot of chili. Macaroni and cheese is in the process of being baked, and the mashed potatoes are being prepared. You take a scoop of everything, steaming and piping hot, and head into the living room. You change into fresh sweatpants and a hoodie from the dryer and sit in a chair by the fireplace. Your favorite TV show is on and there are fresh, thick blankets from the dryer ready to serve their purpose. Life can’t get any better than that.
I think that one of comfort’s strong suits is winter. Winter storms can be scary; there is always the thought of downed power lines, trees, and car accidents. New England can be beautiful but deadly. I know that occasionally during I storm I get worried and think about what could go wrong. Comfort plays a big role when it comes to recovering from the storm. After shoveling, all I want is something hot to eat and/or drink, and warm myself up. Nothing feels better than comfort in the winter.
Comfort is one of the things that helps define society the way that it is. In sociology class, I learned that in a study of newborn monkeys; they spent 22 hours a day on a warm, cloth monkey with no food versus 2 hours a day with a cold, hard, wire monkey that had food. The results prove that you need comfort in this world to survive. Rene Spitz conducted a study in post-WWII England in an orphanage. The children received top-of-the-line medical care and nutritious food. But 37% died, seemingly because they lacked comfort and love.
These two studies, to me, showed that everyone needs a comforting touch and love. This is why we hold newborn babies tightly and hug a small child when they fall off their bike and scrape their knees. This symbolically helps us feel better and lets the person know that they are not alone, and that comfort is nearby. There are many people, mostly thought of as men, who hide their feelings and when tragedy strikes, they hide and think that they are “too strong” for any sort of comfort. But bottling up your feelings will only hurt your situation.
Comfort is something that is needed, no matter who you are. It helps shape that you are and your emotions as well. Food, clothing, and shelter are only the bottom basics of what you need to keep yourself alive. Comfort is what shapes who you are and your social interaction as a human being. The monkeys in the study I mentioned above were in isolation, and after six months in isolation, they became socially awkward and couldn’t handle being in a group of people. Showing signs of comfort to an infant is an early sign of showing love, comfort and interaction to create a socially healthy human being.
This picture is my favorite use for the word comfort. It shows a goldfish escaping into a bigger bowl by himself, free from the smaller, cramped bowl filled with twenty fish or so. Comfort means doing what is right for you and pushing yourself into a bigger environment if needed. Some people are more comfortable alone and by themselves as opposed to being cramped with 20 others. School sometimes pushes you outside of your comfort zone, between the curriculum that is being taught and the students that you are surrounded by, against your will.
This photo could also be interpreted by pushing out of your comfort zone and going alone, without the support of anyone else. You don’t know what you could be getting yourself into, but you go for it anyway. The bowl you are jumping into is higher up, and you don’t know what else is going to be in there. In a way, we are all going to be jumping into a bigger bowl by ourselves next summer/fall. Most of us will be going to colleges across Connecticut, New England, and potentially the nation. Odds are, coming from a class of 87 students, not many of us will pick the same school twice. We will be paired up with roommates who we have never met before. We will be put into classrooms with others who we don’t know, and some we will never even talk to. I had a taste of this when I came to Wamogo from a different school system. I only knew a couple others who I didn’t associate myself with much. Now, I couldn’t be happier that I left my comfort zone and went to a different high school. I had no idea that my high school career could have been so great. I had no idea that I would be a plant science student, or that I would be a member of the girl’s tennis team every year since freshman year. I pushed myself, took a few advanced classes, and pushed myself out of what I was comfortable with. The extra work paid off for me.
This picture is simple, but powerful. It has a dual meaning, no matter how simple it is.
Getting out of your comfort zone is where life begins!
The word comfort is usually thought of as a warm blanket. A bowl of hot food after a long day of being out in the rain or snow. A hug when you have a bad day. Comfort is letting someone know that they are not alone, and that you feel their pain, you can relate to how they are feeling. Comfort is the exact opposite of embarrassment, ridicule, or pain. Comfort is familiarity. Comfort also lends its name to comfort foods, foods that bring about the familiarity of a homemade family dinner, something that you can relate to from an earlier, maybe happier time in your life. Foods like macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, mashed potatoes and chocolate chip cookies not only make your mouth water, but they remind you of home. Comfort means to help someone else in their time of grief, to be their shoulder to lean on. To me, it is the scent of the fabric softener my Mom uses; Downey April Fresh. All my clothes and towels smell like it, that’s what I’m so familiar and comfortable with. Comfort means all sorts of things to everyone else. To some it could be a song, a smell, a name or a place. Comfort means familiarity, but it can also be taken as pushing yourself out of your zone and trying something new. For me, pushing myself out of my comfort zone is going to be white water rafting in a few days. Doing something that’s going to scare me and make me nervous, but going for it anyway. Who knows, maybe I’ll really enjoy it and be glad that I left my comfort zone.
I recently went above and beyond my comfort zone. I went on a white water rafting trip with my best friends for my outdoor recreation class. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I was surrounded by my best friends. Honestly, it was one of the greatest experience ever and a huge highlight of my senior year. It was definitely a huge push outside of my comfort zone. I was pushed out of the raft several times and dived right into the cold Deerfield River. If I could relive that day, or maybe go to a higher level of rapids, I would in a heartbeat. Going outside of my comfort zone was thrilling, I didn’t want that day to end. Afterwards, I changed into sweatpants, a pair of furry Uggs, and a huge hoodie, I left a fuzzy, thick blanket on the bus to wrap myself in afterwards too. The day just screamed “COMFORT” for various reasons. I spent five hours pushing myself out of my comfort zone and out of my boundaries, but then I retreated to a familiar level of comfort and warmness. I wouldn’t have changed a thing about that perfect, comfort day.
My word comfort is a verb is from the late 13th century, from the word conforten. It means “to cheer up” or “console”. Comfort is derived from the Old French word conforter. Meaning “to comfort, to solace, to help strengthen” from Late Latin.
The word comfort as a noun is circa the year 1200. The meaning is “a feeling of relief”, still as in to take comfort in something. It also means “a source of alleviation or relief”. From the Old French confort. Comforts (as opposed to necessities and luxuries) is from the 1650’s
Hugging is one of the greatest forms of comfort.
I like the word “comfort” because it means to make other feel better, and to bring peace into their lives. I think that describes me and what I want to do with my life; I want my career to better others. Comfort is important because in times of need and everyone’s darkest hour, you need a little comfort in your life, something to bounce back on and lean to in a time of need. Comfort is what everyone needs at some point in their lives, a little bit of reassurance can go a long way. (more…)