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Truthy Tuesday: On Happiness, discomfort and the thrill of the Vantasy

Truthy Tuesday with Eva Darling

{By guest maven, Eva Darling}

Six years ago, I woke up with the same question that had been plaguing me for months: “Am I ever going to be happy again?”

I had recently split with my husband and I was dragging through life. I smiled and laughed sometimes, but I was not ever happy. I was a shell of a person, wondering always what the point of life was. Constantly asking, is this all there is?”

The thing that was different about that morning six years ago was that I finally had an answer. “What will bring you joy, Eva? What do you want to do?” And my answer was one simple word: TRAVEL.

That was the day that the Vantasy was born. I began saving my money and my life choices all started to point in a single direction toward a new life of exploration in a van with my dog. I aimed my energy to that end. One year later, Ralgh the dog and I left Portland. You cannot imagine how amazing that felt!

And it did feel amazing, in spite of how terrible it felt. Planning for the trip was a string of scary events, blind steps, anxious moments, and full-on discomfort. I thought those would stop when I got in the van and left, but they didn’t. The discomfort continued through the whole trip. And even though that was true, the Vantasy was the best thing I’ve ever done.

I grew, I saw, I depended on myself, I did things that I didn’t think I could ever or WOULD ever do. I found out exactly what I was capable of and rose to the constant challenges and newness of my life.

And I discovered something: scary things are the secret sauce of life. Following our hearts, facing our fears and embracing adventure turns life from simple survival into a delicious treat.

So why don’t we take more risks, try more new things, and go on more adventures? Because facing our fears is uncomfortable as hell.

We live in a culture of convenience. Not only is everything getting easier and easier for us, but we’ve come to demand convenience. We feel we are entitled to it. We feel we deserve avocados all year long. We want to dye our hair at three AM and expect Walgreens to not only be open, but to also have the exact color we want.

And we mostly get these things, these conveniences. We don’t have to plan too far ahead, we don’t have to sit with emotional discomfort. We have pharmaceuticals and booze and coffee to take care of that. We have grown to see discomfort as something that’s bad, something that is to be avoided at all costs.

But what if discomfort is what we’re missing in life? What if discomfort and adventure were prescribed, instead of Prozac, to cure depression? Contrary to the dominant message in our culture that everything should be convenient, discomfort is not a sign that you need to stop or fix anything. Discomfort is a sign that you are doing exactly what you should be doing. Discomfort is delicious!

eva dotEva is a personal trainer, fitness instructor, and waitress in Portland, Oregon. She’s always on a quest of some kind or another, has an unrealistic celebrity crush on Justin Timberlake, and doesn’t sit down very often. Years after the finish of the Vantasy, she continues to make herself uncomfortable on the regular. Follow along with her adventures at Project 100 where she tries one hundred things she’s never done before. Or get lost in tales about the Vantasy at vanta-c.blogspot.com.

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2 Responses to Truthy Tuesday: On Happiness, discomfort and the thrill of the Vantasy

  1. Kerry says:

    Wow! I am very intrigued by the concept of prescribing discomfort instead of a prescription for depression. It is so easy to just check out and not feel the discomfort. For me, every time I have taken that little risk and done something scary I have felt better after and it has moved my life into the direction I would like it to go. I feel like I am 3 steps forward and two back lately but I believe if I keep taking those small risks it means I am going after my dreams.

    So happy you did!!!

    • Eva says:

      Thanks Kerry! Even a little bit of discomfort can be rewarding. It doesn’t have to be big. Try a new workout, park on the other side of the grocery store, go to the other side of town for your coffee, or go on a bike ride with no particular destination in mind. I think you’re on to something; it does make you feel better!

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