Most people hate being uncomfortable, and that’s understandable. This isn’t some groundbreaking statement. There’s a reason comfort is expensive. We crave it to the point that we’ll do everything we can to avoid the unfamiliar. I try my best to take a different approach. Sometimes being uncomfortable helps remind us how good comfortable feels.
If you haven’t heard by now, a Carnival Cruise Ship’s engine caught fire over the weekend causing a massive power failure. Somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico a boat sits alone and adrift, full of 4,200 people. They’re angry, dirty and underfed. Countless have taken to sleeping on the top deck to avoid the smell of raw sewage running down the ships interior walls. Many have waited in lines four hours long to eat onion sandwiches. There’s no heat for the cool nights, and no air for the warm days. Yesterday, a tugboat arrived to help tow the ship to port. Slow and steady they’ve managed their way across the gulf. Tomorrow their feet will again touch dry land. Food, showers and clean clothes await them in Mobile.
I’m weird, and I know how ridiculous this sounds, but I’d love to be on that ship. As uncomfortable and miserable as it sounds, no one’s health or life is in danger. I’m sure it’s hell on board the ship right now. But given some time for perspective, this will eventually turn into a story that will be retold 10,000 times at family gatherings around the world. If given the chance, I’d gladly trade places with any person on that boat. Not because I’d be doing them any favors, but because selfishly, I’d be doing myself a favor. The lifetime supply of stories I’d be able to store away for later would absolutely be worth the week spent on a nightmare cruise.
As we age, our lives become a memory. Everything we’ve ever done we’ve strived to make memorable. At least, that’s what we pretend we’re doing. The thing’s that last are typically things that stand out from the ordinary. No one remembers the beach trip they took when they ended up getting sunburned while reading 50 Shades of Gray. No one remembers the time they went water-skiing during a weekend trip to the lake. Sure you remember them happening, but they happened so many different times that all those memories begin bleeding together. Unless something extraordinary happened, those memories will never stand the test of time.
If you ate nothing but chocolate every day for an entire year, you’d quickly forget how good it tastes. (Also you might get diabetes.) But it’s not simply variety we need; sometimes we need the bad things life throws at us too. The good in life is actually enhanced by the bad. Embrace the unusual, even if it’s uncomfortable. Those are the stories that last a lifetime and they’ll always remind us just how great being comfortable feels.