Tolerating Discomfort


Mal and GarduneHere’s a scenario that I think most of us have experienced:

You notice something that needs done. Let’s just say the dishes need loaded into the dishwasher, and you just got back from work/school. Sometimes you just start doing the task, not realizing how cumbersome your coat and snow boots are making the process.

Or you have an idea you want to write down, so you lean over your desk and start jotting stuff down… and then you have more ideas, so you keep writing. Suddenly you realize that your back is killing you from bending over awkwardly, and you give up and actually sit down.

There are a lot of little parallels to this. You’re talking in the car, and you realize that the quiet buzz of the radio is driving you nuts. The itchy tag in your shirt is the reason you flipped out on another motorist. You got busy drawing, and the reason you have a migraine is because your drawing distracted you from your coffee.

In the wide scheme of things, I guess these are considered “small” problems. But sometimes, all it takes is something small to totally shoot your resolve to hell. Yes, I used “hell” in a blog post. I haven’t finished my coffee yet, because I’ve been writing. Gosh darn it.

I was reading a book called “Organizing from the Inside Out” last semester, and the author (Julie Morgenstein) makes a point of identifying problems before buying drawers, shelves, and plastic containers. Her approach to an organized life isn’t all about labels and color-coding: it’s about introspection and thought, revolving around what’s really slowing you down. So I’ve been applying it to myself, and it’s revealed quite a bit:

1. Yes, I’m a visual person. Which means: having visual stuff around me when I’m trying to draw is MASSIVELY distracting. So I moved my action figures and stuff off my desk, and moved my desk close to the window (instead of the wall with my dozens of DC comics posters.)

2. I love classical piano. Which means: I give it all (or most of) my attention when I hear it, so it *can’t* play when I work. Country, on the other hand, I love, but I can totally tune out.

3. I get antsy and irritable when I don’t draw anything for a day. So I carry paper and a pen/pencil with me everywhere. It’s habit I used to have, but then got out of. Derned self.

It really is the little things. So what’s a little issue that you tolerate? What really doesn’t seem to matter that much, but when you think about, makes functioning almost intolerable?

What’s your cup of cold coffee?

(Also, if you love me and even if you don’t, please vote for my webcomic, René! Just click the banner below!)

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