Friday, September 16, 2016

Being Comfortable & Normal

Saw this thing about how "normal" is getting dressed in clothes for work and driving to work in a car you don't own so you can work to pay for the clothes and car.

There's this theory I have that there are things everyone is meant to do and until we do them we spend our lives in that cycle inwardly suffering. It's different for everyone. So when people tell other people what they should and should not do with their lives... they should stop speaking and think about what they're saying.

Why should that person not do it? Because it isn't "normal"? Somewhere at the gym I learned to get comfortable being uncomfortable and the sooner you do that the less miserable you are. Having a 300 pound dude on top of you trying to choke you sounds like the beginning of a Law & Order: SVU episode but it's actually quite helpful.

Jiu jitsu and kickboxing is changing me. I've learned that because you're uncomfortable does not mean you're dying, you're actually, aside from the discomfort, mostly fine and may even have the physical and mental power to improve the situation. Even if you pass out, you'll come around. I've seen it. Even if you get punched in the diaphram and drop to the floor because your body involuntarily momentarily shuts down, you'll be fine in a minute and better prepared for the next time that punch hits you.

It's amazing that I was raised to think that the goal is a comfortable life. I've had to spend years unlearning this. The question is not, "How do I make my situation more comfortable?" Because the goal is not comfort.

Comfort will kill you. It feeds on the mind and preys on the body. It weakens you.

Discomfort will keep you alive. It triggers survival mode. It makes you appreciate the rare moments of comfort and stability. It creates a gratitude mindset. One of my favorite TED Talks is by a monk on gratitude and happiness. TED talks and NPR TED Radio Hour is one of the greatest things that has ever happened on the internet.

We as a society have gotten into thinking normal and comfortable are tied to the American dream, and even if you're not American, that's still the ideal.

[Side note: The only way I could be more white-girl in this moment is if I had a PSL (pumpkin spice latte). I'm wearing yoga pants, eating home-made kale chips, blogging about life on a Macbook.]

My life is super comfortable and normal most of the time. I go to work, go to the gym, walk the dog- I'm fucking domesticated. It took me a long time to be OK being domesticated.

But being normal and comfortable doesn't teach you anything. You don't learn or grow or appreciate life as much.

When your coach decides to give detailed instructions while your 225 pound teammate is sitting directly on your rib cage and you realize there's no more way to breath, you just stay quiet and pray to God Joey doesn't ask any questions. You generally learn more by getting punched in the face than punching someone else in the face. You change when you encounter troubles and learn more in the midst of discomfort than comfort.