In the Zone

Would you like to come and see a movie? … or are you in the Zone?

said my husband. He came home from a long overseas trip this week, and it is fantastic to have him back. During the past month I almost forgot how fun and entertaining and interesting life can be with someone close to tease and tell ridiculous jokes and share far out pocket philosophies with on a daily basis.

However: when he asked about the movie I was deeply focussed on writing, and searched vigourously for a socially valid excuse I could use to hold on to my laptop. That’s when he added the ‘… or are you in the Zone?’ bit. Yes! I’m in the Zone! I can’t let go now … Thanks for understanding!


yellow sign with alien. Text: The Zone. Work in progress. Do not disturb!

‘The zone’ is then the newest word added to our household’s everyday vocabulary. The vocabulary contains fixed metaphors we use all the time to quickly point to key everyday states of mind (most are movie quotes). The Zone is an intuitive hit because that’s where we are most of the time, so it makes sense to check.

The Zone has laws, and the foremost is: don’t interrupt. It is not possible to leave the Zone in a rush. The Zone has its own time zone, and is painful and costly to shift the attention outwards when in the Zone. The Zone is a private Heaven that can not be visited by outsiders, but productions from the Zone can be exported to the real world.

The Zone isn’t necessarily incompatible with relationship, although it may be incompatible with some relationships. It is perfectly possible to be near each other and deeply immersed into separate mind bubbles of attention. Even though the interests are miles apart, and even though being in the Zone is in itself incompatible with socialising; respecting each others’ being in the Zone is the sweetest kind of love I know. It is a statement that says: ‘I see you and I know who you are. I see your strong sides and understand your needs.’

Illustration derived of clipart downloaded from


6 thoughts on “In the Zone

  1. Heather Holbrook

    My husband and I are both in our own zones right now. He is watching favorite TV shows on his laptop while I am doing, well, you can tell what I am doing. I have to agree with you, that this is one of the best parts of our relationship, too.


    1. Mados

      I associate being ‘in the Zone’ with a highly focussed, solitaire work-in-progress mode… but I suppose it applies to any absorbed ‘leave me alone’ type of state of mind that requires uninterrupted attention.


  2. gavinpandion

    My mother has a textbook on cultivating creativity that puts a lot of emphasis on protecting quiet time to be in “the Zone” as you put it, other ways of describing it are freedom to concentrate, but I also like the word “reverie” because sometimes you need quiet time to let your thoughts kind of float instead of just drilling down, you know? Like you go back and forth between concentrating on an obstacle, letting thoughts flow when you’re on a roll, and pausing in a moment of reverie when you need to wait for the next moment of inspiration/insight to help you move along.


    1. Mados

      I had to look that up;-) …

      A state of being pleasantly lost in one’s thoughts; a daydream: “I slipped into reverie”. An instrumental piece suggesting a dreamy or musing state.

      (Google summary)

      I agree that reverie relates to being in the ‘Zone’ and alternates with active work; a fluid and relaxed, visual state of mind as a ‘breathing hole’ that helps the mind to be plastic and open for ideas and inspiration.

      However, ‘being in the Zone’ as I see it, also implies a strong attachment to a work process and extreme frustration with interruption and having to do something else – restlessness, a sense of loss, the mind can’t let go and keeps adding ideas for that particular project, almost a physical discomfort as if someone has removed a part of you, and you have phantom sensations in the part of yourself that has been removed.

      Maybe slightly exaggerated, but that’s the core.

      So my husband’s remark implied an understanding that although seeing a movie together is nice, I would feel a loss if I had to interrupt what I was doing. He can get very attached to an activity himself, e.g. he can get quite desperate if I interrupt him during a battle in his video game (one of these strategy games where you build up countries & armies over time and have to stay concentrated for many hours). I thought it was somewhere between funny and annoying until I realised it is the same ‘problem’ I have myself, just with other activities.

      Ps. Thanks for your comment! These discussions are great!


  3. Shrugs, Not Hugs

    My dad often tries to force his way into my Zone, where I’d rather be by myself. I tried explaining to him that I wasn’t in a bad mood, and didn’t need cheering up, and that I just needed to be alone for a while, but he just didn’t get it.



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