I had a conversation with a friend a while back when the seed of doing a Spartan race was planted in my mind. A Spartan race is a super serious obstacle course, not like the inflatable obstacles I did last week. I don’t know if I’ll ever do a Spartan race. I have a lot to overcome in the fear category before I tackle that course, but I’m challenged by the thought of doing a real obstacle race.
As I was reading and learning about Spartans, I heard someone say that those that have gone before us were comfortable with being uncomfortable and that Spartans, too, have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It makes sense. The obstacles have racers doing things like crawling in mud, swinging from a rope high above the ground, running in the heat, carrying heavy things. Just being downright uncomfortable.
So I’ve been thinking about being okay with being uncomfortable on my trip to northern Indiana to visit family this week. On the way I passed through the state of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln country. Did you know that Abraham Lincoln served in the state house of representatives when he was 27 years old? Here is a wax figure of what he probably looked like at that young age:
Then, I visited a replica of the log cabin where he grew up on the actual Lincoln farm. Talk about being uncomfortable! Can you imagine 9 people living in this 2 room house with no indoor plumbing, electric, heat or air?
Yeah, I was dying in my T-shirt and shorts, sweat trickling down my back, as I considered cutting my visit short so I could get back into my nicely air conditioned car. I’m pathetic.
Then, I arrived in Goshen, Indiana where a large community of Amish people live. The Amish, if you’re not familiar with the religion, live without electricity, indoor plumbing, or cars. They make their own clothing (the women only wear long dresses), plow their fields with horse drawn plows, and drive horse drawn buggies for transportation. My mom was raised in an Amish family (yes, I kid you not), so seeing people in 2016 driving horses and buggies was not new to me. But as I watched the horses and buggies go by, it reminded me of these thoughts I’ve been thinking about being okay with being uncomfortable. Here, in this day and age, is a group of people who choose not to use modern amenities that would make their lives so much more comfortable. They are okay with being uncomfortable, at least by my standards.
So what’s the point of being okay with uncomfortable? As I’ve mulled it over, I’ve realized that all the growth that’s happened in my life came because I was willing to get uncomfortable. Change is uncomfortable. It makes us do things we don’t like or don’t want to do. It makes us choose between sometimes impossible options. It makes us hurt, sometimes physically or emotionally. Let’s be honest. Sometimes change just sucks.
But I’ve only become a runner because I was willing to get uncomfortable. I had to push past my level of physical comfort to be able to run farther and faster. And the muscle soreness that follows a CrossFit workout is NOT fun, but lifting heavier weights is tons of fun!
And weight loss happened because I was willing to get uncomfortable. I had to live through weeks and months of making choices that were hard to get to the point of being able to choose healthy without a battle. Trust me. I know how hard, how uncomfortable, it is to stare a donut in the face and choose to eat an apple instead. I understand the uncomfortable feeling of being exhausted from a day’s work but choosing to be active in some way instead of vegging on the couch.
I have a lot of work to do before I get to okay with being uncomfortable. I definitely like my creature comforts, being clean, staying warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I don’t like being hurt, emotionally or physically. I don’t like standing in line; just standing there makes my back hurt. I know; I’m a weenie.
But I do like what’s happened because I’ve faced those discomforts. I like being able to say that I’ve run a marathon. I like that the blisters on my hands have turned to callouses from handling barbells and hanging from the pull up bar at the gym. I like that I can choose apples over donuts without a battle of the wills. I like that I can even consider the idea of doing an obstacle course. I like the changes in me that have been born from discomfort.
But, I know that I need to get a lot more okay with being a lot more uncomfortable to reach all of my goals. If I’m ever going to go parasailing, I’m going to have to get real uncomfortable. Oh, boy.
What fun historical sites have your visited?
What’s the most uncomfortable thing you’ve ever done?