There is a saying that if a frog is put in a pot of water and the water is slowly heated up, the frog will not notice the change in temperature. Either by not realizing the heat or simply acclimating to what is going on around it, the frog will just stay in the water until it is boiled. But, drop it in the pot after the water is hot and it will jump out.
I had one of those frog in the pot realizations this morning while I was out on a run.
My husband and I recently returned from an amazing trip to Italy. It was a beautiful adventure filled with new experiences, connecting with distant family, fulfilling big dream moments, and generally just stepping out of the atmosphere of life as usual. You’d think that I would feel fully relaxed and a huge sense of gratitude for being able to fulfill this life dream of travel.
Instead, I have struggled. I have been moody. I have felt down. And many of the facets of life just feel really big and overwhelming. This morning I realized why.
In the last 12 months, there have been many life changes and happenings. Some fantastic and amazing. Some not. We have had 2 of our daughters get engaged and set wedding dates. A loved one was laid to rest. Another received a difficult health diagnosis. A situation from the distant past is coming back to the present and must be navigated. Businesses are changing and evolving. Life milestones are being met. And I have been the frog sitting in the pot while life – whether because of positives or negatives has slowly heated the water.
Stepping out and away from it all gave me a chance to cool off and “be” outside of it all. Partly because of a physical distance from it, and partly because I was replacing the water that I had acclimated to with fresh experiences. When I returned to my familiar place and jumped back in the pot, it didn’t feel so great. The water was hot, and I want to find a way to cool down.
So what do I do? What can you do when you realize you’ve been slowly boiling in the pot of life?
Know that it is OK to get out of the pot from time to time. It is ok to step away from the happenings in life to a place or activity that allows you to refresh and forget for a bit.
Know that it will feel hotter when you step back in than when you stepped out. That’s to be expected. Use that as new motivation to find ways to turn down the heat so life isn’t so hot.
Know that there is choice in how you act, react, and respond to the heat. Acclimation brings apathy. Be aware of when you are feeling to “comfortable” in the uncomfortableness of life. Make the choice to jump out of the heat.
By the way, the frog myth is not a truism… I researched. So no up in arms over the reference, and no trying to test this myth please. But this is a great metaphor for what life can be. You get to choose whether you sit in the pot or jump out.
Which will you choose?