the best thing you can do is find a comfortable spot to look ahead
I’m sitting cross-legged on my bed, facing my window. My laptop is propped up on a maroon-colored antique stool with pink and orange flower embroidery that I inherited from my grandmother.
I was sitting in this exact same position yesterday, staring out the window, lost in thought as I tried to focus on studying my PADI open water diver manual. And I realized something. Strangely enough, and maybe this is just a disjointed correlation that can only be made in my brain alone, but just less than a year ago I was sitting cross legged on a bed, laptop propped up in front of me, sun shining in through a large glass window and sliding door – in another country.
I’ve had the itch to make a change in my bedroom for some time, and Christmas break away from classes is a good time for cleaning. Piles of stuff, disrupted from their once-home, now in search of a better one clutters my floor – receipts that should be filed, clothes to put away, random knick-knacks from calendars, an old digital camera and a horse flag are strewn over the white carpet. Things I don’t know whether I should keep, donate or throw away.
Getting back to my bed and the window. Last week the head board was below the window, and I faced a wall when I slept. Craving a change, my mom helped me switch it around so I can face out the window. I love windows. They make a person feel less trapped when we’re inside, when it’s -12 degrees below zero and the last thing I want to do is go outside, but I don’t really want to be inside either. So I face out the window.
I thought I was making a change, but what I realized yesterday is that I switched my bed back to something familiar. This was the exact way that my room was arranged when I studied abroad in Chile. The door to my direct left, my closet just next to the door, the window straight ahead, my bed nestled in a corner against a wall. Even the desk that sits under the window is reminiscent of a nightstand that held photos of my family when I was abroad.
This is a strange lesson to conjure in words, probably because it’s a symbolic derivative from my brain more than a concrete example. But every new year is unknown. We don’t have a magic ball to see into tomorrow or next month. We can plan and anticipate, prepare ourselves to be the best person we can in each moment we’re given, and come to peace with not knowing.
Last year for me was a year of adventure. Something new, something uncomfortable. If there’s one valuable lesson I took from 2016, it’s that the most uncomfortable situations make us learn the most. It doesn’t have to be a bad experience, nor does it have to be good. But discomfort makes us think, analyze and process. It makes us change.
On Tuesday, I begin my final semester of college. This will be another year of unknown. I will graduate and move on to something new. There will be more adventure, and more discomfort.
Maybe my subconscious was reflecting on last year, what I was feeling and how I processed it. Perhaps changing back to what I knew in Chile was my way of finding comfortable familiarity when I know I’m about to enter the unknown – sitting on a comfortable bed, looking through a window to the outside. Or maybe it’s just a good spot to type a blog and sleep at night.
At least when the unknown becomes known, I’ll be well rested.