life, thoughts

Comfort or Joy

This is not an after-Christmas, Christmas post about comfort and joy during the holidays. It’s about something else entirely.

If you had to choose between comfort or joy, which would you choose?

Years ago, when we first moved to Florida from Chicago, euphoria set in. Swimming in a pool and sporting a golden tan in March had never happened to me in all of my twenty-something years. What an adventure. The culture was different … very eclectic with people who lived there from all over the country. All new sights to see.

Palm trees
The gulf coast

sunset 5 wm
The Atlantic coast
Lots of theme parks

univ wm
NASA
Tropical Islands called “keys.”
Can’t forget my favorite place in the state …

staugfort (800x535) wm(Castillo de San Marcos fort from the late 1600’s)

… the oldest town in the country, St. Augustine.

The residents in Florida weren’t as friendly as back home, but I was young and sociable, I figured I’d eventually make friends.

We settled into a job and household routine. Time off from work consisted of traveling to see family or visiting Florida vacation spots. Five years later, no friendships formed. The novelty of warm weather in winter wore off. I missed the change of seasons and my family and friends. I wanted to move back. We put our house up for sale, but then a personal tragedy made me realize we needed to stay. We were meant to be in Florida. I knew we needed it for growth, but wasn’t sure what that growth was supposed to be, at least not yet.

I used the next ten years to grow emotionally, mentally and spiritually, until moving back home called to my heart again. Except, another personal crisis came up that caused us to stay.

Two more years passed, and I was sure it was time for us to leave. No crisis this time, it just didn’t happen.

For the next ten years, every time I’d start to complain about Florida’s nonstop heat and lack of friendliness, I’d try to turn my focus on  gratitude. One of the good things was the writer’s group I found after twenty years of living there. And, of course, I appreciated those rare few weeks when the weather cooled off in the winter. I loved my house, which we wouldn’t have been able to afford back in Chicago.

wood-floors wmWe could afford a few extra nice things each week, like nights out, a house-cleaner and even to pay for something if it broke down around the house.

So, I settled into an isolated but comfortable routine.

Twenty-seven years and two months after we first moved to Florida, we finally took the opportunity to move back home.

Now, I’m no longer comfortable, and routine is shot to hell.  We don’t own a nice house like back in Florida, nor can we afford any of the extras.

Instead, on many days I find myself shedding tears of joy. Life is no longer quiet and isolated, but filled with friends, family, love and laughter.

NCGJsofa (800x459) wm

chigirls (800x439) wmI have been forced to choose between comfort or joy. Which is better? Well, the comfortable routine always had me looking to some point in the future for happiness. So, if my years of self-growth taught me anything, it’s that money and things may be comfortable, but it’s no substitute for filling my life with happiness in the here and now.

Which would you choose?

P.S. Next week, I hope to post the reason why we moved to Florida all those years ago.

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41 thoughts on “Comfort or Joy”

  1. I think as well as comfort & joy there is process, where you can see joy as a light at the end of the tunnel. Do you ever imagine what it would have been like if you’d stayed in Chicago and never moved to Florida? I can’t imagine having stayed in the rural area where I grew up as some friends & family did, nor returning there to live. I’m happy I had those years in the city, even if for the last few I was ready to move on and realised country-coast was where I wanted to be… but had to work through the process of getting there.

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    1. Hi EllaDee. Good insight. Yes, I did think about what it would be like if I hadn’t moved. I would not have appreciated this place or my family like I do now. I know the move to Florida was the right thing to do. You’re right, you and I both needed to work through the process of getting there.

      Thank you for catching up on my posts. Hope all is well there in the country. I’ll bet your ghosts are happy to have your company. 🙂

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  2. Why must we choose? I find a great deal of joy in comfort and a lot of comfort in joy. I know what you are getting at in this post (the comfort of routines and solitude versus the joy that comes from chaotic family gatherings), but if I can find a way not to choose, I choose that!

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    1. Hi Lorna. For me, I had to choose between comfort and joy. I do mean the comfort of routine, but also comfort in finances. Living back in Chicago, we are much tighter on money. We were far from rich in Florida, but we didn’t have to watch our pennies like we do here. Still, I’m happier without that financial comfort. I’ll be writing about that more specifically in my next posts. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  3. I will take joy over comfort as well. It took me about as many years to figure it out as it did you. And maybe it’s something that comes with age. But I see friends who don’t realize it yet, and I feel sorry for them. Though I haven’t been away from the people and things that are so familiar, it was a long journey to figure out I have exactly what I need. And I feel at peace. I’m so glad that your journey has brought you such peace as well. You LOOK happy! ((Hugs))

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    1. Hi Tee. I took a spiritual journey in my 30’s, and by the time I turned 40, I was ready for joy. However, my husband hadn’t gotten there yet. I had to wait for him to be ready, so I tried to focus on gratitude while waiting. It took him long enough, but he’s finally here. I’m actually surprised at how happy he is, because he fought this for so long. I thought for sure he’d find reasons to complain, but he loves it. He’s hiding behind one of the kids in that picture I put up. Yes, I’m happy to be happy in the here and now. I know you have had tough times of late, but it’s good you realize your joy while accepting the sad things have happened. It’s all a part of the journey here. God Bless.

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    1. I’d love to choose both comfort and joy myself, but at this point, I had to choose only one. I set my sights on having both though. Thanks for the happy wishes. Many blessings to you in 2016, Miss Z Lady.

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  4. Tough question to answer for me. My husband and I took a chance and gave up comfort to move to Maryland and take on some new challenges. We’ve moved around the state several times over the last 10 years but think we’ve found our niche. Despite the higher cost of living, neither of us has any desire to move back to the Midwest. I guess we chose a new opportunity first and worked our way to comfort and joy.

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    1. It’s sounds like you stepped out of your comfort zone and now you’ve found both joy AND comfort. That’s fantastic. I’m surprised the cost of living is higher there, although you may have come from rural Illinois. The Chicago land area is high, high, high cost of living. I’m shocked at the property taxes. Whew! Pretty much why I’ve lost my comfort zone. But, I’m happy and that’s what matters.

      Thanks for sharing your experience with comfort and joy, JM. Good to see you. Happy New Year.

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      1. Actually, DC and its nearby suburbs are some of the most expensive places to live in the country. Only New York and San Fransisco are higher in some measures. I know people who bought a nice townhouse in Chicago that would cost them twice as much in DC. That’s one reason we bought “a step” further out! 🙂

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        1. Wow. I don’t know how people afford it. We can barely make a good enough salary here to make it. We have been looking farther out here as well, but there is really not much of a difference. It looks like you live in a really nice area. The views are pretty. It looks both comfortable and joyful. 🙂

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  5. Definitely food for thought! I am a creature of habit and comfort, but I am trying to push myself out of my comfort zone. Glad you were able to return to the home that makes your heart happy.

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    1. It definitely was habit and comfort that kept us there so long. I think when the time is right for change, it happens. Thanks so much, Joy.

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  6. Happiness with family and friends around, joy, if you will, certainly would be high on my list.

    I never liked Florida even on s visit. It was far too hot for me. Chicago seems like a nice city, especially if that is where you find the most joy.

    I would like to go home. That I have written about many times ; will not go there on your blog. My family is scattered every where, so I guess I am here for the duration .

    Very happy that you have returned home. Florida was not a happy place for you. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Other things do not matter in the end.

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    1. Thank you for the kind, compassionate words, Linda.

      Yes, I understand you’d like to go home. I do get it, having wanted to go home for so long. But, it’s not the same. Things have changed a LOT. I’m filled with joy mostly because Florida was so unfriendly, lonely and HOT (as you know). I’m not lonely here, and definitely not hot. 😛

      You seem to have made a nice home where you are living.

      I’m happy to know you and keep you in my daily prayers.

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  7. Thought-provoking question. I think I’d pick joy too, because hopefully, over time, that joy would lead to comfort. Then again, I suppose the opposite could be true too. Guess that’s not much of an answer. 😉

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    1. Ideally it would be great to have both comfort AND joy. I’m not comfortable because I have more worries about finances and ailments acting up in winter. Life have been thrown off balance. Perhaps if we figure out a way to smooth those things out here, comfort will follow. Who knows. Thanks for joining in, Carrie.

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        1. I just noticed my awkward sentence in there. I must’ve started writing something else and didn’t erase it. I’m sure you knew what I meant, but it was meant to say – life HAS been thrown off balance. 😛

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    1. Well, I’m sure there are times when we can have both comfort AND joy. At this time, that’s not possible for me, but who knows what the future holds. I’m glad joy is the word for you this year, and perhaps you can have it with the inclusion of comfort. Good to see you, Andrea.

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  8. I guess I would have to go with joy. Florida is an odd place, the people are not warm and open like they are in the Midwest, at least that is the way I felt when we lived in Jacksonville. I think family and memories are so much more important, than a fancy home. Although you are probably wishing for the warmer climate of Florida right about now. Hope all is well with you. Hope you had a lovely Holiday season!!!!!!

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    1. It would be ideal to have both comfort AND joy, but at this point, I’ve been given a choice of one or the other. Maybe someday I’ll have both.

      I’m really not missing the Florida climate at all. They’ve had record high temps, and people there just turned off their a/c this week since last March.

      It’s not really the temps here that bother me, but how much more difficult it is to get around in winter, especially with the dog. 😛

      Thanks for sharing your experience, SD. I completely agree with what you said about the difference with the two states (FL & Midwest).

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    1. Ha, yes, indoor pools. So many people think I’m nuts for wanting too move back. But, like you said, a life full of family and friends is a wonderful thing. It’s better than sunshine for me. 😀 Thanks for reading, Charlie.

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    1. This Joy feels different than comfort, I guess because I’m not comfortable in my financial situation, and physically my ailments are acting up in the colder weather. I guess it’s that I’m not physically or financially comfortable. I worry about those things, but the joy outweighs them.

      Thanks for the nice comment on my header. I changed themes so I could put up a bigger photo there. I’ve taken so many nice winter photos for this season, I couldn’t decide which one to use. Glad you like this one.

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      1. You can alternate header photos whenever you feel like it. I need to change mine more often too. As for your worries, spring will come and warm you up, and the rest of your worries will sort themselves out in time. If you have your health you’re doing fine.

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