Ode to Discomfort

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m in love with being comfortable — almost to a fault. Yoga pants, any kind of carb, a year-round space heater, a big comfy couch and did I mention yoga pants? I guess I could be compared to a Hobbit in the Shire. Why leave my comfort zone when it’s just so….comfy? (And the alternative is just so…not).

Well, (despite all my best efforts ) I’ve been uncomfortable a lot lately; training for the California 10/20 Run and learning the ins-and-outs of cancer care, while trying still to navigate my own life’s plan. But while spending all this time away from my comfort zone, I’m starting to understand what discomfort really means.

I’ve learned that discomfort is both voluntary and involuntary. It’s mental, emotional and physical. Discomfort is sickness and health. Discomfort is fear, sadness and uncertainty. It’s shock, surprise and anticipation. Discomfort is failure and success.

I’ve actually begun to sort of enjoy all this discomfort (not in like a masochistic, chains and whips sort of way). It’s just, I now understand that discomfort is fleeting — but it’s effects are lasting. Discomfort builds strength and power. Discomfort is a teacher, a guide. Discomfort breeds warriors, survivors and heroes. Discomfort is a challenge and it’s a life lesson. Discomfort is a mentor, a coach and a trainer preparing me for the road ahead — because greatness is not achieved by being comfortable.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always love being comfy.  In fact, discomfort has actually deepened my love affair with comfort. By feeling uncomfortable, I’m expanding my comfort zone (adding acreage to my Shire, so to speak) and giving myself the gift of contentment under any circumstance.

So, while I’m counting out cancer meds or running my way up a big ol’ hill, I know I’m in training. I know my discomfort is coaching me along as I build the strength and endurance to take on all the tough stuff that lies ahead.

So, here’s to you, discomfort. I owe all my comfort to you.

(And a special shout out to yoga pants — I couldn’t do it without you.)



Discomfort is very much part of my master plan.

— Jonathan Lethem