When I return home from America, the sensation I carry around in my body is an almost ever-present discomfort. I’m not feeling sick sick (apart from the jet lag: that heavy, weird feeling of your body arriving somewhere while another part of you – your soul, perhaps – is still travelling), but I’m not feeling well well. It’s that discomfort many of us have. The discomfort of abundance. The discomfort of people who have too much, who do not need to move too far or too hard to get food, the discomfort of always feeling a little bit bloated and off, the discomfort of the desk-bound worker, bent and curved like a well-fed snake around the computer screen and office chair for eight, nine, ten hours a day.
This is the discomfort of someone who can fit in a yoga class on the weekend or a walk to the shops, but tends to clock around 6000 or fewer steps a day. The discomfort of a person who drives to the supermarket, eats out a few times a week, once in a while will lose her shit on bourbons and Cokes, but mostly likes one or two glasses of wine a night. This is the discomfort of a person who has a lot on her mind and worries about the future, her work, her family, waking sometimes at 4am and having a hard time getting back to sleep. This is the discomfort of a person for whom exhaustion – or at least a low-level version, with its minor aches and pains, a bit of brain fog and forgetting names, the ‘hmpruff’ sound made when bending to put on her shoes – is the new normal.
Listen: On the No Filter podcast, Brigid talks Mia Freedman through why we ‘detox’ instead of moderating.
I have all that. My body feels like it has a tenant on a long-term lease trashing the place a bit. Not enough to get them evicted – not yet – but those tenants were not taking good care of the structure. ‘I have a plan,’ I tell my body. ‘You may not like it. It’s pretty dramatic, but hear me out. The plan is to kick out this bad tenant and do a major reno. It’s going to be painful. There’s going to be some demolition work – the foundations are going to be ruptured and rebuilt.’