We each inhabit a zone where we find comfort. Routine, the same clothes or their cousins, familiar food and drink, give a sense of continuity and consistency. If everything was new every day, exhaustion and anxiety would be a daily companion and the gift of family, friends and community would be lost.
However, routine has its price. We become dull and most likely bored and boring. New places and people renew and challenge our senses, which in turn stimulates those parts of us that need challenge to keep on living. As the body needs to be taxed in order to remain healthy, so does the space between our ears.
Entering the Piazza del Popolo in Rome for the first time shatters the easy regard we have for open space. It is rich, laced from moment to moment with sounds, sights and smells of a place walked for millennia. The Risotto and glass of wine served down a side street at a table on a narrow sidewalk with people passing by extinguishes one need but engages another. Exploration of one kind stimulates the need to see more. And as we investigate and learn, the zone of comfort we establish where routine and continuity are part of our daily pattern becomes even more important.