Comfort Can Be Dangerous
At church today, I got to talking about my latest blog post with a friend; when her husband asked what it was about, and she said, “Middleage,” he asked if that was at all like Middle-earth, which it is not. At all.
But after he mentioned it, I realized how great it would actually be if entering middleage really was like entering Middle-earth. My God, people, think about it!
1. We’d get to leave our noisy and chaotic households to move into a small, warm burrow filled with books, comfy chairs, a fireplace, many napping nooks (I’d imagine), wine, and a well-stocked kitchen. The hobbits would welcome us with a feast. (I’m sorry, children and husband, but sometimes I can’t help fantasizing about living alone in a cozy hole in the ground with books and furry woodland creatures, though truth be told, I always pictured it more like Narnia than Middle-earth.)
2. We’d have furry feet, which sounds very cozy. Also I think we’d wear cloaks, maybe even furlined ones, which would feel like wearing pajamas all the time. If we wanted to take a nap, we wouldn’t even have to get undressed.
3. We’d have breakfast twice before lunch. Nobody would notice how much we ate, because hobbits don’t care about things like that. In fact, I bet the more we ate, the more they’d respect us. We’d celebrate everything with a snack. We’d probably celebrate an especially tasty snack with another snack.
4. Didn’t Bilbo live until he was, like, 130 years old? Which would mean that we wouldn’t even be middleaged until our late 60s. We’d still be in the prime of our lives!
5. A wizard would swoop in to help out when things got rough. He’d expect us to do some of the difficult things on our own, but the truth is, nobody made Bilbo go on his adventures. He had the perfectly viable option of staying in his comfy burrow and living out his days in warmth and contentment.
Of course, which was the better choice for him, ultimately, comfort or adventure? Which would be more fulfilling? Dammit! This was meant to be a light post with no soul-searching, and all of a sudden I’m back at the same question I had yesterday.
Can’t help it, though: sometimes I think I focus so much on comfort that I sink too far into it and that’s why I lose my passion for excitement.
You know what? It’s exactly like those deep foam block pits that they have in gyms for gymnasts to practice their dismounts. We had one in the toddler gymnastics gym my kids went to. You’d jump into that foam pit and sink down into the comfiness and it was nearly impossible to climb out.
(I clearly blocked out this memory, but it just made a reappearance: I made the mistake of jumping into a deep foam pit with Lizzie when she was two because she got stuck and with her chubby little toddler legs, she couldn’t swim her way out of it. Unfortunately, I was heavily pregnant at the time. I couldn’t crawl with my belly in the way, so I settled for tumbling roly-poly-like toward her. By the time I had rolled myself to where she was stranded, I had no choice but to settle into the foam beside her and pray not to go into labor. After a short nap, I hauled her by the armpits across the pit and out. I’m pretty sure it was touch and go about whether the staff would have to empty the foam blocks out of the pit and remove me with a crane. By the time we made it out, I was sweaty and embarrassed — and royally pissed that one of the perky 20-year-olds hadn’t offered to jump in to rescue Lizzie for me. They’re probably still telling that story at bars when they’re shitfaced with their friends. Actually! If they were 20 then, they’re well into their thirties now, and heading toward middleage themselves. Ha. Anyway, do you see my point? You get too comfy, too complacent, and it’s damn hard to pull yourself out of it.)
Luckily I don’t have to decide just yet about how I’ll spend my Middle-earth years. I’ll wait until Gandalf comes to fetch me and then ask him about it. Or Aslan: if Aslan came to sweep me off to Narnia I would totally go for adventure. Aslan always had those kids’ backs. To be honest, Gandalf seemed a little flaky.
PS: to any of you die-hard Lord of the Rings fans, please don’t scold me if I’ve gotten anything wrong. I’m not part of a Tolkien fandom and haven’t read the books for 25 years or so. Also, please don’t scold me for not having read the books for 25 years or so.