Comfort is a funny, devious little thing. She shows up everywhere cloaked in a familiar reassurance. Our workplaces, our homes, our families, our friends, our local shopping centers and dentist chairs: “Are you comfortable?” – a question we unconsciously answer before anyone requests a verbal response. It’s a question we’re conditioned to ask ourselves, because the peaks and troughs of our lives are dependent on how we feel in any and every situation. And discomfort drives a downward slope.
But then Comfort plants herself on some motivational poster that reads something along the lines of “Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.” And you feel an inner fire in the pit of your stomach because you want to do something, anything, that stimulates you and dances with the discomfort you’ve spent your life averting. You want to do something exciting. You want to do something daring. You want to feel liberated. You are inspired.
And then you go back to your comfortable desk and go on with your comfortable life.
And that’s not to say that there is anything wrong with you, or anything wrong with that statement. Life does begin at the edge of your comfort zone, and you are right to feel inspired. But why is discomfort automatically coupled with adventure? Why, when inspired to step out of our comfort zone, do we start searching for plane tickets and hiking trails, exotic cuisine and experiences miles away from our day-to-day lives? Why do we relegate Discomfort to a back corner, only to show face at times we want to be bold and daring? At times that act as monuments and milestones, the peaks of our lives that wait weeks, months and sometimes years to come around again?
How many times have you bailed out on a date because it fell on a day you felt unattractive and uncomfortable with yourself? How many bookmarked job postings did you discard after reading the qualifications and convincing yourself you weren’t ready to apply? How many times did you tell yourself you’re going to begin exercising after your sore back heals up… after your cold goes away… after the week… okay, after the weekend… after the snowstorm… after the sn–too many. And none of these are monumental occurrences; they’re trivial pieces that make up our day-to-day lives, and we go about them based on how comfortable we are dating, dieting, working, living. We wait until we’re ready to lose the weight, to put ourselves out there, to go after the job at X, Y, or Z. And after a year, regardless of whatever once-in-a-lifetime trips you took while riding an adventure high, your everyday life is unchanged because you’ve been waiting until you were ready.
YOU WILL NEVER BE READY.
Everyday moments are not promised to our every days. I can’t tell you how many times discomfort, insecurity, and sheer laziness stood in the way of things that, at the time, meant nothing, but after years, felt like everything. Balancing on the edge of comfort does not mean taking impulsive action or changing the balance of your life with a quick, reckless undertaking. Bold is not weak, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be subtle. That doesn’t mean it can’t go unnoticed. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen as often as you allow it to. But Bold does not wait. Discomfort does not wait. Comfort is always waiting.
So you can wait for the man to come, for the sun to come, for the mood to exercise and eat healthy to come… or you can stop waiting and ride the waves Discomfort incontestably put into motion. Comfort will always be there. But a lot like Bold and a lot like Discomfort, Life does not wait for anyone. It won’t wait for you to lose the weight to welcome the man/woman into your life. It won’t wait for your resume to be polished to steer you toward the posting of the job of your dreams. It won’t wait for equilibrium in any one or two facets of your life to rattle up the third. It doesn’t care for balance like you do. It doesn’t care for comfort like you do. It doesn’t care if you’re ready. Life’s kindness and wonder can be free and infinite, but perpetual comfort can blind you to it all.