This is the first in the series of posts on things I think about when I think about the places I have been to and the places I wish to go.
People run marathons, bike across mountains, go on long treks, and do a lot of things that need not necessarily be done to get by life. The acts in and of themselves are rarely pleasurable. On the contrary, they are more often than not, painful exercises to go through.
The real pleasure lies in overcoming the pain. The feeling of accomplishment every time you get one of these things done. The new experiences that would otherwise have stayed in the imaginary realm. The realization of the limits to which your mind and body can be stretched, and the realization of the reasons for which you are willing to stretch them. The feeling of enrichment, physically and intellectually.
It is easy to settle into a routine. To define the set of things you will and will not do and stick to it. To feel good about what you can do.
But you're quickly bored by what you can do. At that point, you can either delve into the world of fiction to have new experiences through the eyes of the writer, director or your favourite sports team. Most times, this suffices. But this is momentary. Because you are soon back to seeing the world through your own eyes.
Stretching your limits to experience the pain and then overcoming it lasts a good deal longer.
Of course, many a time, the momentary relief and inspiration is all you seek before getting back to your routine. But when that isn't doing the job for you, you know its time to seek out some pain.