Many people reach a stage in life where they say, “I just want to be comfortable”. But what is comfort, exactly?
The dictionary defines it as a state of well-being or ease. And it is that. But is comfort the same thing as satisfaction?
It is not only possible to be comfortable without being satisfied, it is a common state.
I find that if I look back on my life I can break it up into fairly obvious “eras”, chapters of my life that have a clear beginning and an end. In the most recent era, prior to the one I am in now, I was very comfortable.
My life was easy. I had an easy job. I did not have to concern myself with paying rent, it was included. I had an attractive girlfriend. We went on lots of trips and impromptu adventures. I was sexually fulfilled. I rarely went to bed feeling lonely.
But I was not fulfilled. In fact there were several key areas where my life was lacking.
- I was not intellectually stimulated. I had no one to talk to or relate to on a daily basis.
- I was not making enough money.
- For various reasons, I did not feel respected, or respectable.
- I was bored.
- Though some aspects of my relationship were good, many others were not, and I had become conscious of the fact that I saw it as temporary.
- I had gained some weight, and was getting increasingly out of shape.
- Though I was frequently engaging in activities that were pleasant, or nice, I felt deprived of fun.
- I saw my dreams getting further away, not closer.
I could go on for a long time with this list, but I think that’s enough to illustrate my point. Despite all of those problems in my life, I felt very little motivation to change anything.
I was comfortable. Comfort is the enemy of change.
I knew my relationship was becoming unhealthy and that I was not fully committed, and yet I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want the discomfort of being alone and having to find someone new. I knew that unless I started making more money I would never have the lifestyle I envisioned for myself, and yet I had a roof over my head and enough money that I didn’t ever worry about eating, so I didn’t feel an urgency to change anything.
Comfort is by nature temporary.
Let’s take the example of a bed. And let’s say it is a particularly expensive bed, with a memory foam pillow top. When you lay in this bed, it feels heavenly, and extremely comfortable. You might think to yourself, “I could stay in this bed forever”. In the morning you might still be so comfortable you find it hard to extract yourself from it.
But what would really happen if you never left that bed? Would it stay comfortable? Absolutely not! Within a day you would start to feel dirty, and feel the urge to shower. After a week you would likely start to develop bed sores. The dead skin would collect and attract bugs, and what was once heavenly would quickly become a prison, and far from comfortable.