Out of the comfort zone


Loren Bailey graphic designer

So here it is, just the second issue of the New Year and I already have a byline! For those of you who missed our staff New Year’s resolutions (“Ten Best New Year’s Resolutions”; Dec. 30, 2009) story, mine was to “write something” for YES! Weekly. I fully intended to wait a while, procrastinate some more and then maybe even chicken out, but I was caught off guard by Brian Clarey asking me within one week to write this column. So that in itself took away my “waiting awhile” and in a weekly paper, you really don’t have time to procrastinate, so that excuse was gone too. On top off all of that, I took a leap of faith and said “yes,” so I can’t chicken out now.

With all that said, let me introduce myself. I’m Loren Bailey, graphic designer for YES! Weekly. I “make it look pretty” and believe it or not, a lot of work goes into putting this paper together. I have a husband of three years, David, and a boxer-mix dog, Lanie. We both hail from Virginia, which makes us avid Hokie fans (and a minority here in the Tarheel Nation). I live in Winston-Salem and am currently remodeling my townhouse. I am the office “environmentalist,” even though I still think there is so much more I should be doing to help our planet (but hey, getting the office to switch to recycled envelopes is a start, right?).

As I was trying to decide what to write about, my husband asked me why I even wanted to write this column in the first place. I had to think about it for a couple minutes to find the right words, but it comes down to this: It would put me completely out of my comfort zone.

Comfort zones are a weird thing, something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. You don’t realize you are in your comfort zone until something shakes you out of it. For me, it was the thought of almost being done with our townhouse that has thrown me for a loop.

Life has been in a constant state of flux for the last two years while we have been remodeling. I got used to having no ceiling, concrete floors, wires hanging every which direction and a constant battle against the dust. My comfort zone was having constant change in my life. Now that our project is actually almost complete, I began thinking about what the heck I was going to do when it’s all done and it was that thought of actually having a normal house that took me out of my comfort zone.

Remodeling has been so exciting; we’ve been learning new things almost every day. It has given my husband and me a chance to work side by side, doing something not many people our age do. This experience is something no one can take away from us, and the sense of accomplishment is like nothing else I’ve felt before.

My husband grew up immersed inhome-improvement projects, while I, on the other hand, did not. Likemost people, I had walked the aisles of home improvement stores in mylife, but that first trip to Lowe’s with my husband and father-in-lawopened my eyes to the world of home improvement I had no idea existed!Who knew you could actually buy washing machine valves? I thought thosecame from the back of a plumber’s van! That was just the first of manyrevelations to come. I can now find the scratch and dent section in anystore (I ask for it, if I have to); I find knocking holes in wallsquite therapeutic; leaky faucets are no big deal, and electric shocksdon’t hurt quite as much as I thought, however, highly not recommended.

Learningthose lessons kept life interesting without much effort. Someone had toput down the tile or decide which type of caulk to use, but now I haveto bring myself out of my comfort zone with no motivation but thedesire to do so.

It’sstrange to wonder what you are going to do when you have a normal lifeas opposed to wondering how to make life more interesting. I willactually need to seek out activities to shake it up a little. I don’twant to have a life just sitting in front of the TV every night — Ineed something just as exciting to fill in my new-found free time.

My answer to this dilemma was to conquer something out of my comfort zone. Writing for YES! Weekly isdefinitely out of my comfort zone, but it is something I have access toand mentors in our editor and writers to help this newbie. I know thereare so many people out there who would love to have their workpublished as I do, so I do not want to let this opportunity go towaste. It’s not every day you can see your name in print.

I hope you, the YES! Weekly readers,will bear with me as I embark on this journey of finding my voice, andI hope you too, will set out to do something outside of your comfortzone.