Learning to be comfortable with discomfort

It’s taken me a while, but I slowly feel like I’m reaching a stage again where I feel capable of pushing physical and also mental limits.

I broke my ankle at the very start of the year, and was off my feet for weeks if not months. I barely left the house for the first two months. With such dominating condition, I guess it’s not surprising in hindsight how much that would affect me physically but also mentally. I became very used to being inactive and staying in which is very different to how I usually am. It also made me feel very trapped because I didn’t feel like I could go out, it took a lot of effort for a long while.

If I had to take a stab at explaining it, I would say because I was going through such an amount of physical pain, it left me with a reduced capacity to deal with any other discomforts. So I was drawn to easy and pleasurable experiences that did bring a degree of comfort. However, a life well lived (in my opinion) is one where one must become somewhat comfortable being uncomfortable because that is where the most personal growth occurs. For example, returning to rope climbing, I have been feeling more fear of heights and falling than I did before. That fear has always been there, but in the past I’ve been able to acknowledge the fear and climb past it. With no little amount of patience, I’m finally feeling a little closer to being able to do that again.

Another avenue in my life that provides mild discomfort is my recent uptake of Spanish lessons. Learning the language has always been something I would love to do but never known quite how to make a reality. I finally decided to bite the bullet and commit to a course and so far, it’s very early days, it seems to be going well. But one thing I do recognise is that you do also have to be uncomfortable in being unable to express yourself and still be willing to learn and be corrected. It’s amazing though, if embraced, how much progress you can make in a short time.

Life does gives us all knocks, but I am glad to have been able to navigate back to this point where I am seeing more progression. The other important point, is that the healthy way to look at progression is comparisons between where you were recently (maybe like 6 months or a year ago) rather than all time. Progression is about recognising the uptrend in performance and sometimes that may have fluctuations over “all time”. It’s just something I’ve had to remind myself of in an effort to be kinder to myself.

A change of pace

My life has radically changed since the last time I wrote. I’ve moved cities, bought a house and also changed jobs. Kind of crazy that it all ended up happening at the same time. It was definitely a lot of stress but now I am starting to enjoy the rewards of having made those changes.

The cities thing was always going to happen. London will always hold a special place in my heart and memories, but it was never the place to stay long term. Every location has a rhythm, a pace and London’s is just a bit too fast to sustain long term. It’s wonderful to visit though and I thoroughly intend to do so regularly to see friends and for work.

Moving to Bristol has been a great change so far. It’s just such a more relaxed place without having the sacrifice the fun things that we love about a city. It’s also allowed us to buy a cute little house which is something that would’ve never been an option in London. Well, not never been, but certainly would have to work a lot lot harder in order to be able to afford a house.

That part has been hard to get my head around. Having lived in London for so long, owning property was something that I had labelled in my mind as something that was unattainable (certainly to buy an actual house and by myself). So to actually do so is hard to wrap my head around. The living part is easy, our house is great and we’ve been able to decorate it into a lovely place to live. But it’s the understanding and realisation that I now own a house and have a mortgage, with a lovely man who I’ve been dating for a short two years with. My brain just goes “riiight… As if that’s happened”.

And then to top it all off, I managed to leave a job which I was constantly feeling overwhelmed and stressed and joined a company that I would’ve never thought I would be able to get a job at. I have only recently started so it’s early days but so far it’s been a real 180 in pace and I can see lots of potential in things I can do and achieve here which is exciting. Adjusting to a lower pace has been hard so far. I don’t think I’ve realised how wound up I’ve been by my last job and how that has lasted longer than I think it has. However I think it makes for a healthier long term. No one can feasibly sustain working under constant stress with a huge workload for an indefinite amount of time. And I look forward to acclimatising back to a slower, more varied pace in work.

Overall there’s been a lot of new starts and lots of changes. Reflecting on it now, it’s been a long time coming for that change of pace but at the end, I’m grateful for everything that enabled me to make those changes and choices, luck goes a long way but also allowing myself to take those steps which can be scary. Something to definitely look back and be proud of.