During my lunch hour, I ran out to one of the local mattress stores to purchase a new double-size mattress for my oldest son. I was able to obtain the same size mattress for my younger son through a process which included the circle of life and no more room. I had done my research; the cheapest and crappiest mattress I could get would run me about $260, but an average, sleepable mattress would cost me around $450. I swallowed hard and walked in.
I’d been thinking a lot about mattresses, not because I’m crazy (I am crazy, but not because of literal mattresses, figurative mattresses – yes), but because awhile back I had my own mattress adjusted to be more firm. The mattress had originally set me back about $2200, and after another convoluted process that included sleep apnea testing, a stay in the hospital, and finally coming to the actualization it was my bed that was keeping me awake, I took the mattress back to the maker and had them firm it up. They did this at no charge to me, but we were without a bed for about a week.
My significant other is not a fan of my mattress. I can’t remember why. We decided we would eventually get a king-size bed. It hasn’t happened yet and I don’t expect it’ll happen for awhile because MATTRESSES ARE EXPENSIVE.
During a recent pity party I threw for myself, I realized mattresses are a good metaphor for life. Life is expensive. The choices we make are expensive, either monetarily, physically, or emotionally. Things that seem comfortable and wonderful on the sales floor end up being a literal pain in the ass later. Sometimes we learn to live with the mattress and make it work with feather beds or excess pillows and comforters. Other times we sleep on the couch or find another bed in the house to sleep in. The catch in all of this is, we can always buy another mattress. It might be incredibly expensive (divorce) and painful (having your kids for only 50% of the time), and it might not be easy (“I’ve had this mattress forever! I was probably conceived on this mattress! I’m not getting rid of it”). The choice is always there, though. How much are we willing to invest? How much pain are we willing to suffer for the betterment of ourselves?
The phrase “you made your bed and now you’re going to lie in it,” rings so true, but damn it, you can make another bed. Sometimes the bed requires a lot of commitment and investment – new sheets, a comforter, pillows, a mattress pad, and a room to put it in. If that’s what you want, you can do it. You can prepare the bed with the finest materials or go with whatever you can find cheap on Amazon. You might have to let go of the largest room in the house with the adjacent bathroom and walk-in closet. The point is, we have choices. We are not stuck forever. You might be stuck until you can come up with the right emotional, physical, or fiscal capital, but you are not stuck. You may feel like concrete has been placed on all feet of your mattress frame, but you can move that piece of metal, even an inch at a time, if need be. Sometimes rearranging the room might help until the purchase can be made. If you’re not happy, think of ways to make it better before climbing onto that problematic mattress every night (don’t think about it while on the mattress – damn it get some sleep!!).
A new mattress isn’t going to be the key to a new and completely content life. Planning for it and making goals might help you chip away at the filth that’s begun to fill it up in the meantime. And, all of this is easier said than done. Old mattresses can be comfortable. They’re hard to get rid of. Don’t beat yourself up over not doing the right thing when you’re not mentally able to do it. When the time comes, you’ll know. It won’t be easy then, either.
We all invest in things that eventually need change. Something will click and the mattress will be off to the landfill or kicked to the curb.