[Sober Living] Life Without Friction

My water bottle clanged on the floor. “Sorry a-bough-t that.[1]” I said as I swooped up the offending bottle in a half-dozed stupor. “It’s uhh-kay.” Would life be better without these sorts of embarrassing interactions? Without these grimy grimaces, how can we know what glittery glory feels like? Perhaps it would be nicer to be free of stress, anxiety, and worries over the thises and thats of life, but sometimes that friction leads to more!

I learn quicker through anxiety.

Ideally, the responsibilities should be minimal for a beginner, but I’ve dropped in so often to so many difficult situations at work, that it’s almost boring when there isn’t that constant conflict over overcoming certain chaos. “I asked ‘How do you get a gig like this?’ ‘Well, you have to be at the right place at the right time.’[2]” That only goes so far.

You also have to overcome the right obstacles.

In order to get to the right place, you have to push through all matters of discomfort, from laziness, internal obstacles, external obstacles, and all matter of threat, every day. When you become adept at handling the minor stuff, it no longer feels anxious to do certain things. Maybe that’s when your inner and outer selves become congruent?

Color clashes are a neutral example of overcoming incongruencies.

Without the light tones to break up the dark tones, how can we differentiate symbols to spell out words to convey ideas? These innocent clashes enable us to read, visualize shapes, objects, and people. Other senses rely on these conflicts as well. We wouldn’t know our boundaries without pushing up against them or being told what they are and why we should not proceed past them. If this is stating the obvious, that’s an example of how I overcome the worst of friction in life:

Returning to a point of homeostasis.

To paraphrase the popular quote, if the ship is made to sale, then what should happen when it is in need of repairs? If we are like those ships, we so often think about how we are in desperate need of repair, when it reality, we just need to keep ourselves in good shape along the way. Little bits of maintenance, checking in with friends and strangers, both for ourselves and others, can really help. We can begin to tolerate more of the otherwise uncomfortable frictions when we know we’re not alone.

“We’ll need a tin can and string for this.[3]”

I don’t think an ideal world should be one free from stress. We should have the tolerance to be able to endure and overcome any stress, benign to severe, with either our own internal resolve or external resources. While we shouldn’t have to endure all stresses alone, we should have the ability to attempt to endure some of the stresses of life, which is where developing a sense of self-confidence comes into play as well, because as I return back to that mental image of the bus where I had accidentally, through an overly-comfortable nap, had dropped my humble water bottle, perhaps hitting someone’s foot, we focus on the embarrassment of the situation rather than the neutralities of it: I picked up my water bottle, apologized, received an acknowledgement, and no further words were said. No muttering, no evil glares, just a normal quiet bus ride into town.

Let’s focus on those neutralities when we encounter friction.

Quotes: [1] Me. [2] Random snippet of a conversation I overheard. [3] Random statement I heard that fit.
Sources: My personal experience.
Inspirations: Besides dropping that water bottle? Noticing overall that my writing and planning has improved with my reduction of free time. Without that time conflict, I’d waste more time, I think…
Related: None
Photos: Above, my water bottle overlooking Elliott Bay from the Victor Steinbrueck Park in Seattle. Below, the change in focus to consider the world outside of the embarrassment over dropping something on some temporary bus ride.
Written On: July 16th [2 hours]
Last Edited: July 22nd

My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.