Updated: Feb 5, 2019
Princess and the Pea was my favourite fairy tale. Still is. I can’t say I relate to many princess stories, but princess and the pea (did she even have a name?) was my jam. I am that princess. I am not a laid back, go-with-the-flow type traveller who will sleep in cars, on planes or anything that moves. If a friend suggests an evening at theirs, with an “It’s okay, you can crash on my sofa”, I make believable excuses and cancel the whole visit. The few times I have been forced to share a single bed with a partner, I haven’t slept a wink, they haven’t slept a wink because of all my wriggling and dramatic sighing, and the following morning… oof… nobody should have to deal with that. I have a fancy feather duvet, my mattress costs more than most my furniture, my pillows are just little bits of heaven waiting for my head and I am in love with my hot water bottle – it’s true love.
I like my comforts.
I’m telling you this because I can’t quite stress enough that when I say ‘I’m a little worried’ I really mean it! I’m choosing to leave my comforts behind and wherever I lay my head for the next while will, most likely, be far from comfortable. It’s something that’s only just dawned on me. I was so focussed on the journey I’m choosing to take - the destinations, the wandering, the freedom, the exploring – that I haven’t processed the fact it may be pretty uncomfortable. Having thought this through, I am now freaking out. Will I be tired and irritable all the time? Will I pine for my beautiful bed? Will I miss out on opportunities that arise because I think I will be too uncomfortable?
I hope not. My hope is that I miraculously become the sort of person who can pass out sitting up right, on a crowded bus, child kicking the back of my chair, loud music playing, with the sun flashing in my eyes. How likely is that though? I am hoping it’s more about what you are used to. When this becomes your new normal, do you just adapt? Strangely, in other ways, I’m an adaptable person. I like change, I don’t mind compromise, and I love dealing with weird situations and thinking on my feet. That adaptability doesn’t seem to manifest itself with the whole comfort thing. Maybe it will if I give it a chance.
It’s a worry, but it’s not enough to stop me. It’s not enough to hold me back.
The idea of comfort holding me back got me thinking about other, less tangible, comforts I create for myself; my ability to create an environment for my down-time of complete hibernation, the security of buying things I want (but can’t afford) even if it means popping it on a credit card, not really worrying about going hungry or getting organised cause I can order a takeaway if needs be, never allowing myself to be bored or feel awkward in my own company as I can always just play on my phone. Do the comforts we create for ourselves enhance our lives or do they actually hinder them? The need for perfect sleeping conditions means I miss out on some adventures. Surely surrounding myself by these other comforts has a similar impact.
I’m trying to imagine what would happen if we didn’t have all these comforts in place and I really can’t see anything but positive possibilities. I spent a couple of months living without internet a while ago and I wrote half a novel. Before endless, addictive television shows or mindless games apps existed, people had time for thinking and creating. Going to the edge of boredom forced us to harness our own imagination and resourcefulness. When we have no access to fast foods we have no choice but to cook and eat healthier. I know from experience, when I am accidently forced into a situation where I have none of my normal comforts, I write music, draw, dance, sew, read books, learn new skills, cook, walk, and do all the things I never normally have time or energy for.
Don’t get me wrong, the idea of living without Tetris forever, not getting sushi delivered to my door every again, or never getting to watch a good detective programme again sounds rubbish! I love those things. No fucking way I’m giving up all the things I love. They make me happy. Right? They do make me happy, at the time at least. I’m not sure they make me content though. They don’t really make me feel fulfilled. I guess it’s when I’m using them to excess, for escape, or doing it because I’m too lazy to make myself do something else.
I may be being naïve, but I really think if I was brave enough and strong enough to live a slightly more ‘uncomfortable’ life, I would be happier and healthier.
I’ve committed now. Be lovely if you prove me right, Universe.
Thanks in advance,