Comfort? Not always the way things go around here.
Things seem to hit in waves. Sometimes it’s just overwhelming.
The past few months have been heaps and heaps of stress. And it’s like the classic tale of the person relentlessly trying to scoop water out of his boat, while more water continuously gets in through cracks and crevices.
I want to demolish all those items that are causing insane amounts of pressure, but they never seem to go away. Rather, they get new friends. All the time. And before I know it, I’m just covered from head to toe in worries, new and old, all coming together to make every day a new and unique challenge.
Change Your Place, Change Your Luck
There’s a Jewish concept: Change your place, change your luck.
I think in general it’s good advice. If nothing seems to be going the way you want it, maybe it’s time to pick up and go somewhere else. It’s unclear if it’s practical advice, or spirtual advice. Or some combination.
And there’s not a lot of information given. Is this a physical location or a circumstance? Could it include switching jobs or trying out a different social setting? Is it better to make sure you have a clear, intelligent plan before you hop up and uproot your life, or is it more important to change right away, before you talk yourself out of things?
And that’s where I feel like I stand all the time lately.
Comfort vs Healthy Disruption
I’m stuck between two different ideals.
I thrive with structure and order. I wake up at around the same time every day. I generally follow a pattern, with lists dictating all sorts of daily tasks I want to accomplish. And by the time I go to sleep, I feel like a long day has come to an end, and I did a whole lot with the day.
And that structure keeps me grounded. And it keeps me busy, distracted, and for the most part, fulfilled.
But it comes at a cost. For one, I am uncomfortable with unforeseen disruptions to my peaceful order. I don’t even particularly like vacations, because they uproot my system. They take me out of my element, and I feel like I’m preoccupied with what I’m not doing, rather than just enjoying the moment.
Furthermore, I’m a slave to my own productivity. No one is monitoring me but me. Yet there’s a great sense of failure when the tasks do not get conquered.
Finally, it shuts me off to the wonderful world of spontaneity. There’s a whole gorgeous universe out there that requires no planning. That, in fact, preferably exists without planning. It’s the ability to drop everything and go out and do something you’ve never done before. It’s the power of the unknown. It’s following the moment, wherever it might lead you.
I used to have a spontaneous heart. Somewhere in adulthood, it seeped out of me and is nowhere to be found.
A Busy Blanket
That all being said, my orderly and busy life is kind of like a childish security blanket that I cling to when the days are challenging.
And… they’re always challenging.
But it doesn’t in any way address the greater issues. Those issues are oppressive and don’t seem to budge. In order to vanquish those problems, something much bigger will need to happen.
Change your place, change your luck.
Perhaps the first step to breaking the pattern of unrelenting challenges is to force a giant change. Leave my standard Jerusalem apartment and large grocery stores and move up north, where I can fish for my dinner. Grab a backpack and my laptop, and trek across Europe working in random coffee shops. Quit my job and pursue a new career in something that I’m passionate about but has a very unlikely chance of success.
Or perhaps nothing quite so drastic. Pick up a new hobby. Move neighborhoods. Switch grocery stores. Try a new recipe. Something that breaks me out of the rut, and pulls me far outside my comfort zone.
Weight Lifting vs Sports
Sometimes I wonder why my “sport” of choice is weight lifting. I never really excelled in any team sport. I found many of them fun, but I couldn’t really muster up the passion to even attempt to become anything more than a beginner.
Weight lifting is a very personal activity. You, by yourself, pick up something heavy. Obviously there are a whole lot of other details, but that’s it in its simplest form. And if you don’t get injured, there are few surprises.
But with most organized sports, you must handle the unpredictable at all times. Someone might tackle you from any side. The ball can whiz by you at different heights and speeds. You can get punched or kicked from multiple angles, and the slightest zig or zag the wrong way can be catastrophic.
But I don’t take on those challenges, and instead prefer the comfort of my inanimate weights. But to paraphrase Bruce Lee, “Weights don’t hit back.”
Without a Plan
And that really is the main point here. I’m afraid of the unknown. I’m terrified of going in without a plan.
And why shouldn’t I be?
Sure, the final destinations along the way have been nothing short of miraculous. But the process of getting from point A to point B has always been filled with dangerous landmines. And to be frank, I’m sick and tired of stepping on them.
I want to wake up in the same bed as the month or year before, and melt into my routine, because that’s where comfort lies.
Comfort vs Risk
But comfort does not lead to success. The ability to ignore comfort and take wild risks is where you can find great triumphant mastery of life.
If I buy $1000 worth of a new stock, I can be penniless in a matter of months. Or I could have invested in the next Google or Amazon.
But I’m more likely to seek comfort in just keeping everything in my regular ole bank account. Pay my bills. Buy some groceries. And go on my merry way.
And even if my instincts tell me to drop everything and buy that stock, I’ll likely just keep on being the guy who answers customer emails and writes a blog on the side.
How does one break free? How do I force myself out of my comfort zone into a place where I can learn to embrace rather than fear the unexpected?