Life is Pain
There’s no hiding from it. “We seem to be made to suffer. It’s our lot in life,” said C-3PO. Too true, my friend, too true. Death, taxes, and lets add another inevitability of life: pain. Things hurt. They hurt because you get old. They hurt because you fell down. They hurt for a million reasons. Unless I’ve totally missed the boat somewhere, there’s no normal person out there that isn’t experiencing their own internal struggle.
What do? (<-- this phrase will age out and should be replaced when the fad passes)
As I see it* of the many different ways to categorize pain, there’s yet another way: willfull and deterministic. One of the mental blocks we have that weighs like a massive black cloud on the horizon the path of our effort is the expected pain of physical activity. Sore muscles, strains, pulls, scrapes, bruises, burning lungs, blisters, broken bones, and maybe the possibility of mortal wounds. I’ve had a few nightmares where my bike throws me during a long downhill and I scrape all the skin from my body. I’ve woken up sweating with a fast heartbeat on more than one occasion.
And the other path in this imagery, the one where Netflix asks if you’re still watching, the future doesn’t have that cloud. It’s rainbows and flowers and unicorns and Stranger Things. So where’s the pain there? I’ve said pain is inevitable, right? It is. But this kind of pain is more insidious. It’s the pain you get in your knees, absent any real physical activity. The pain you have in your lower back when you wake up in the morning for no reason than you exist. The degenerative conditions. The diabetes. The heart disease. Chronically being sick for one damn reason or another CONSTANTLY. The depression.
One is “willful”. This is the pain you’ve sought out; that you’ve willed upon yourself. This is the pain you chose to inflict upon yourself. You know it’s coming. The other is “deterministic”. You aren’t given a choice here; your future pain choice is being determined for you. You don’t know when it’s coming or how it will arrive, so you will almost certainly won’t be prepared. There are exceptions, of course, like genetics or environment. But we’re for the most part (maybe one of the defining features of being human) outrageously adaptable, so we can work with most situations.
Personally, I like to will the pain upon myself. It hurts, yes, but really… it hurts so good. The muscles ache, but not with the worry that it’s a new chronic malady creeping up on you, but as a satisfying reminder of the effort you made. A physical reminder of another small triumph. Some are irritating and hold you back (I’m looking at you, “falling and pulling a muscle”) but at least you’re learning a lesson with those (lift up your damn feet, no matter how tired you are!). I hate the pain that I don’t choose. I lived in fear of developing diabetes. My grandpa dying at a (now considered) young age of a heart attack was a spectre over my head. Lower back pain used to wake me up after a mere 6 hours in bed. (Sure, I can blame a bad mattress, but I’m still using the same one and that pain doesn’t seem to be there anymore.). These things are mind-bogglingly more expensive, debilitating, and stressful to cope with not only to the sufferer but their loved ones as well.
So really, you’re making a choice by not deciding. The choice is yours to make: choose your pain, or let life choose it for you x10.
*Covering my ass here. All this is my opinion.