Not fitting in or being uncomfortable is what the expression “like a fish out of water” means. That’s a pity, because if you think about it, a fish out of water is experiencing the ultimate form of enlightenment. If you’ve been in water your entire life, you don’t really realize you’re in water, do you? I mean, on some level you must, but you don’t know what it’s truly like until you’ve jumped out of it.
I discovered that on a small scale recently when I moved from one rental place to another. I knew I had been unhappy where I was for some time, but I didn’t fully comprehend what a negative effect that place was having on me until I got out of there. It was definitely just what the doctor ordered. I’ve had that feeling when I’ve quit a toxic job or ended a toxic relationship, too.
Now that I no longer have a completely crazy landlady and her ex-convict son living on the other side of my living room wall, I can breathe. Now that I don’t have to step over his cigarette butts and deal with the god-awful stench of their overly hoarded garage, I feel much better. Now that my dogs don’t get fed whatever crap they have as leftovers when I’m not looking, and don’t have to wend their way among the ever-increasing debris in their back yard to do their business, they feel better, too. Now that I’m not being constantly watched to see when I come and go and with whom, and how often I use my air conditioner, I can relax and feel like an adult in my own home again.
By the standard definition, I guess you could say I was a fish out of water at the old place. But if you look at it as a form of enlightenment, then I am a fish out of water now, and it feels really good. I will never take a comfortable living situation for granted again. If that knowledge is what comes from jumping out of my comfort zone and exploring the possibilities that come with change, then this is one fish who hopes to do it on a regular basis.