The Only Bad Middle

from Jeremy

Much of our writing about living the COMFY life has to do with finding a place that works for you. Sometimes this is a middle ground, although often it's simply somewhere on the spectrum where you are most comfortable, wherever that may be. We do not advocate the middle, although that's where we primarily find ourselves. When we do find ourselves in the middle, we may actually be making life harder. What can we do to make sure we don't get caught in an uncomfortable middle?

First, let's talk about a few uncomfortable middles:


How many of us have gotten caught in the middle of a diet? Not quite committing to it fully, and not quite giving it up, thus experiencing the worst of both worlds – not able to eat what we want at the same time as not losing the weight we want to lose? This happened to me with the Slow Carb Diet Tim Ferriss made famous. I missed one important component which led me to spend over 6 months, losing some weight, but not getting the results he talked about in The Four Hour Body. Why? Because I didn't realize the green juice I was drinking every morning wasn't on the diet. I was sabotaging my own efforts through attempting to stay regular. This is the middle I'm talking about. I was dieting, but not fulfilling the diet at the same time. What a waste!

Exercise Programs

The same thing goes for an exercise scheme I set-up for myself. I love to exercise! Yet, there are some weeks when I'm teaching or traveling when I can't quite fit it in. What ends up happening is the weeks I can exercise I do great, making tremendous progress. The weeks I can't (which are too frequent for my taste!) end up forcing me to backslide. Instead of continuously moving forward in my health progress, I stay around the same place because I'm stuck in the middle again. It's the proverbial two steps forward two steps back routine, keeping right where I am with a whole lot of effort, movement, and heat.

Between big life events

As regular readers of this blog may know, our family is preparing for some big life events: adoption of a new child, summer plans abroad, possible spine surgery, Long-term Early Retirement planning, etc. None of those things, though, are happening today. We're in this middle ground where we don't want to make any drastic moves because of all of these things coming up. This includes limiting our housing options, our job options, and even our plans for medical care. An example of this is our desire to move out of the DC area. We cannot make that happen until at least we have adopted the new child, so that plan is on-hold for the time being. Then, depending on the needs of the child, it may make the most sense to stay in the area for a period of time to ensure that we provide the child the care they need. Thus, some life priorities have to take a backseat to other life priorities, putting us in between the two: the uncomfortable middle.

Breaking out of the UnCOMFY Middle

This all brings up the question, how do we break out of the middle, where we're not getting the benefit of any particular choice?

In the first example I used the answer would have been better research and planning. Know what you're dealing with before launching a campaign, so that you are doing everything you need to do, rather than missing a crucial step. This allows us to achieve our goals rather than simply mark uncomfortable time.

In the second example, the answer is to find a way to exercise even while having my time taken with exhausting teaching and travelling. To do this, I have to think unconventionally. Bring exercise bands to the office to use when I'm not the one teaching during the day. Take them with me, or use the gym/pool in the hotel to get in enough exercise to at least maintain myself during the weeks when I'm teaching or traveling (or both).

In the third, there is not a lot we can do right now, particularly until we know what conditions we'll be helping the new child address. In this circumstance, the best thing we can do is recognize that we're here for the time being, and make the best of the situation by getting closer to friends, spending more time with our community, and reminding ourselves why we came to this area over 20 years ago, in the first place.

To sum it up, what I'm advocating is better research, preparation for action, and aligning my expectations with reality. These are all key components to living a COMFY life anyway, which makes them that much more powerful when trying to break out of the UnCOMFY middle.

Let us know what middle things are keeping you unCOMFY, and what you're doing to address them.