For our Stoic Sundays challenge this week, we kicked off right at midnight deciding to do away with our bed for the night and sleep on the floor. Min got nostalgic, and Greg learned that older generation Koreans are pretty much naturals on this one.
For me, this was an interesting challenge because I slept on the floor for the first 23 years of my life! This made the whole experience more nostalgic than burdensome for me.
In Korean, it used to be customary to sleep on thick blankets on the floor. As beds started to become popular, you’d even find some fashionable people unwilling to give up the comfort of their hard mattress installing “stone beds”in their bedrooms. But I digress.
After we setup a blanket on the living room floor and I got into our ‘floor bed’, I had flashbacks to some of the happiest moments of my life. It was generally all memories with family. On our family’s farm in Korea, whenever I would visit I would share a single sheet with my three cousins on the floor (my oldest cousin, unimpressed with sharing with three little cousins, usually stole the sheet in the middle of the night). As new immigrants to Canada, our family of four shared a one bedroom apartment and a single floor between us. I used to be frustrated that I didn’t get to have a bed at home, but it really wasn’t so bad. The sleeping condition itself was a discomfort – I awoke once in the night – but it’s only a temporary one. I’m in a warm house, and I have someone here with me to share the challenge with. I am very grateful – because this past temporary discomfort emphasized the more important things I have in life like great memories, love, and family.
Not nearly as bad as I’d have thought! We’ll have to keep upping the ante with some more challenging discomforts. Nonetheless, each time I complete one of these challenges, I try to follow through the reflection from Seneca “is this the condition I feared?” This provides perspective – sleeping on the floor is a lot easier than sleeping on the street. Actually, it really drew attention to how comfortable it is to be in a warm apartment. I’ve slept on the ground while camping, and I’ve slept on the cabin floor in a boat – this was much easier than both. I’m a front sleeper, so that was a bit uncomfortable and I had to shift to my back (probably better for me anyways?), and I woke a few more times in the night than usual, but if all beds were banished from this land today, I think I’d get by.