Friday, May 27, 2011

Envy and Ergonomic Pillows

A while ago I completed one of those on line tests. It was Christian based, designed to identify things like gifts and talents and areas of ministry you should be involved in. I should be a teacher – gosh, how surprising is that? (I actually took the test twice, deliberately changing my answers and I still ended up as a teacher.)

The test results also revealed areas of weakness. It didn’t make any suggestions of what you needed to do about it – just that you should be aware of it. My area of weakness was envy.

Most times I snort and scoff at results. Computer programmes are only as good as the designer. I would like to think that the computer got it wrong – that I am not envious at all – but that is not true. I spend far too much time comparing myself with other people and fail to measure up. Yes, there are good role models around and I am spurred on by what I see in others, but often I just want what someone has regardless of the sacrifices they made to get them. I want to take a short cut where no short cut exists.

Weeks ago I saw an advert for an ergonomic pillow. It was a television advert, one of the “you can’t find this item in any shop…phone this number now…have your credit card handy”. The pillow had different coloured layers of shaped foam that moulded to the shape of your head. According to the man in the advert, who had just woken up from the best sleep possible, he wouldn’t go back to ordinary pillows.

I will admit to a stab of envy. I liked the coloured layers, but more than that I liked the promise of “the best sleep possible”. I am not sure when I last slept the whole night through. There is something about three in the morning when I wake up, mind alert with obvious solutions to problems I have been churning over throughout the day. Neurons have been firing and the part of the brain that wants to go back to sleep has been singing lullabies to soothe the wide awake side! I seem to remember reading that Margaret Thatcher existed on three hours a sleep every other night. I don’t want to turn into Margaret Thatcher. If the ergonomic pillow could stop that from happening - I wanted one.

I had the opportunity to buy an ergonomic pillow. It was plain white, but the same shape. The hole in the box challenged you to “see for yourself” the dent you could create by prodding the memory foam the pillow was made of.

I was hooked and bought two. One for me and one for Joe. He has never really had the kind of sleep issues I have, but I didn’t want him to envy my pillow and talk me into giving it to him. I don’t think he quite understood the principle as the pillow was carefully placed on top of the pile of pillows he already had.

I evicted my pillows and replaced them with the ergonomic one and lay back waiting for it to do its stuff – herald me into “the best sleep possible”.

I might have been wide awake at three in the morning but not because of any eureka moment. The ergonomic pillow lay like a brick between my head and the mattress. It was not soft, and not that yielding. The memory part of the foam must have been someone else’s memory because it really wasn’t mine.

I retrieved my old pillows and promptly fell asleep.

It’s a learning curve. The body needs time to adapt. Old habits of sinking into soft pillows, doing who knows what damage to the position of the spine, die hard. I am not yet ready to abandon the ergonomic pillow.

However, the things we think we need for a better life do not always turn out to be the things we need for a better life!

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