"Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion or rest, or the tendency of an object to resist any change in its motion." This is the Wikipedia definition of a word that often swims (lazily) to the forefront of my mind.
I love inertia, readers. I like the way it feels like a lazy summer's day, with only the sounds of nature to disturb you. Or the seclusion of a winter's room, with the fire lit to keep you warm. I like the way inertia feels like such a natural state of being.
In the normal scheme of things, an object that is resisting change or movement would seem to be an object in perpetual threat of change or movement - do you see what I mean? If you apply the word to a rock in the middle of a fast-flowing stream, you can see that the rock is resisting change and motion. The water swirls around it, rushing on its way, always busy. In some way, the rock must resist the surrounding water or it would be swept away. But do you see the rock getting worked up about it?
For people, change and movement are a big part of the normal human condition. Without them we would stagnate and become less than we can be. We need them to fulfill our potential and, on an everyday basis, to keep a healthy balance of body and mind. Too much time without change or movement can cause us to look inwards and dwell on things we wouldn't be so concerned with if we were kept busy elsewhere.
I know all this is true as I've had many experiences where inertia played a large part and I thought it was a glorious thing, like coming home, only to find I was restless and unhappy after only a while. Still, I will champion the idea of inertia because I think, in its rightful place, it's an absolutely essential part of life for all aspies.
We need a small period of inertia in our lives to stay in control. I don't mean inertia as in just not moving or resting up after a stressful time. I mean those times when we make a positive and definite decision to step back from life and do nothing.
We may have the choice of doing something, like going to work or taking on new responsibilities or more simple things like meeting up with friends or going out for the day. Whatever it is, it will be something that requires us to be active and to break from normal routine.
It can be good to do these things, to break away and have a different routine for a while or form a new one that will continue on into the future. This can be wholly positive, as we might be moving away from a negative period in our lives and need something new to set us back on the right track.
Then, inertia rears up and, whether the imminent change or motion is positive or negative almost becomes irrelevant. We've all experienced that sudden, mulish feeling of stubborn certainty where we know, we just know, we must stay here and do nothing instead.
Whether we are realising something important and good is debatable as it's very easy to convince yourself that you know you mustn't do a thing and come up with all the reasons, then look back much later and see you were just rebelling against change, as usual.
Whatever the logic or otherwise, our reactions are paying homage to inertia. We are an object that does not wish to move or change and we resist both. The goodness of the decision is often drowned out by the peace felt after making it. Nothing really compares to that emotional shutting of the door and knowing you are back in your safe place, alone and undisturbed and, predictably, unmoved and unchanged.
Inertia is often vaulted as a bad thing when it comes to people, for the reasons I outlined earlier. And it can be a bad thing, in its lovely, tempting solitude of the soul. I admit, it can do more harm than good to resist change and stay as you are.
But sometimes, at moments often of great inconvenience, we need inertia to set us right again. By resisting movement, we steady ourselves and feel balanced again. Movement can make you giddy and uncertain, with the danger of falling and being overwhelmed by everything happening around you.
Inertia gives you back your equilibrium, by making you in control again and in a quiet place where your thoughts can settle and you feel comfortable enough to look at your life in a calm way. It can be essential in coping with everything even though, to people on the outside, it looks like the aspie has done it again, the grand disappearing act when faced with life's challenges.
Other people know, they just know, if we were to carry on and face those challenges, without giving in to the temptations of inertia, we would achieve more, become more rounded people. For heaven's sake, we would do ourselves good! If only we didn't give in to inertia, we would be more like we should be.
They might be right, don't you think? If we could get past that point where we stop, look around and refuse to go any further, what might we achieve? Should we really start to leave inertia behind and do what is best for us and what will help us to become better people?
Well, you can if you like. I've tried it, readers. I've stolidly followed the advice of people who know better and ignored inertia when it appeared on the lonely highway. I passed by, determined that this time I wouldn't let my own doubts and faults lead me astray and stop me doing what was best.
It led to yet more difficulties and the threat of breakdown. I had to take a big, giant look at myself and my life thanks to not listening to inertia. In the end, this was positive because it led me here, but oh, did it hurt at the time and for a long time afterwards.
I've learned how important it can be to listen to that part of you that wants to dig in your heels and go no further. I've also been at the other side, frustrated when other people have done it and I know they can achieve more. The truth and honesty lies somewhere in between these two points. We should do what we can and take on new challenges if we feel able. Sometimes, just occasionally, we should take on new challenges when we don't feel quite able. Yes, really, this can be good and lead to surprising and wonderful things.
What we shouldn't do is push on, when we have that awful, pulling feeling, wanting to bring us back to where we first felt we should stop. We should learn when to listen to our voices and stop what we're doing. No matter that action and change will do us good; no matter that it's well within our capability if we would just try.
If you feel you must stop, then do. We are not often as wise as we would like to be or as we think we are and instincts are there to save us from many tears and troubles. If you feel you must stop and let life carry on without your for a while, listen to that feeling.
Inertia, in many cases, illustrates how busy life can be and how normal it can seem to rush along, finding new challenges and always viewing movement and change as a good thing. I would like to hold up my hand for the rock who sees the stream dashing past every day and thinks:
No, I will stay here and look at it all. I like to see the stream rushing and hear the sounds it makes, but I love that patch of grass where the flowers grow, just there. I love the little bank of sandy soil where my brother and sister rocks sit, waiting to become part of the stream. I love the way the sun hits this part of the land in the morning and bathes my face in warm welcome. Let the stream rush and I will love it here, for now and until I'm ready to move on.
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