I have a kid that is smart, creative and into everything. One day, not so long ago, he was busy creating something in his room. I love it when he gets into his creations. It gives me time to do my own thing and he often comes up with something awesome.
So this day he decides my yoga mat is part of his mixed media project, turning it into his own personal red carpet, that he can roll down the hallway from his room. Great! It’s creative, it gave me some breathing room while he made it, and feels good on my feet when I go down the hall. The only drawback is that I have to lift my feet, a tiny bit, when stepping into the hallway, so I don’t trip and fall into the wall. I’m a quick learner. Twice was enough. Watching my husband stumble was also fun.
As such creations go, when not so annoying or in the way, the yoga mat stayed in the hall for about a week. Maybe longer. Time is weird. Can you tell yoga isn’t my thing? We got used to having the mat there and learned not to shuffle our feet into the hall. This slightly inconvenient thing became normal in our house. Then he took it down.
It was odd. Those few centimeters, to lift my foot and set on something, weren’t necessary. Like when you think there’s another step, when walking up stairs, but instead of up it goes back down. So unexpected! Such a little change tripped me up and I made friends with the wall, again. Graceful, like my momma.
This got me thinking about all the ways I just become comfortable with the little annoyances, inconveniences or negativities that are within my control to change. The things that I walk around, over or just ignore. There is a good chance that I will leave something alone, just long enough to get pissed off by it, before I will change it. Or, worse yet, it becomes habit. Part of my routine I have become comfortable with. Not because it is helpful, but because it is known. Known misery is often easier than unknown change.
These little comforts and routines can overtake us and dictate how we live our lives. If there is no room for change then there is no room to grow, learn or be part of anything new. It’s always been done that way doesn’t mean it always needs to be done that way. Maybe it doesn’t need to be done at all.
Comfort isn’t a bad thing, but if given priority in our lives, we risk never knowing what else there could be. I can be both happy with the life I have and be ready for something new. I can create a routine for myself, and then recreate it when it no longer brings joy. Anything enjoyed, done over and over, will stop being fun. It may even become a hated task. There always needs to be room for one change, no matter the size.
As I look around my house, at the things I’ve tolerated over the years, I begin to see that tolerance as avoidance. I am avoiding change. I am avoiding confrontation. I am avoiding the uncomfortable. On an individual scale, none of these things are a big deal. Looking at it all together, I realize that how comfortable I have become could take me out. Like a yoga mat in the hall.
With the coming of the new year (and the resolutions that come with it), I would like to suggest something different. I think we could take inventory of the things we tolerate in our lives. Anything that we can change, but haven’t yet. Anything from the stuff on our counters to the attitudes we give others. I’m not saying we have to change any of them. I think becoming aware that we have become unhappy in our comforts is a great step. Just seeing the things that could change may spark the change we need.
It’s time to be brave enough to see the crap that’s been avoided. That’s as close to a resolution as I want to get.