Early last year - you know, *early* last year, before everything - I went on a dentist spree. I hadn't been to a dentist in several years and so in the new year I went to a fancy new very Instagrammable dental practice where I watched that David Attenborough nature series while getting my teeth cleaned and had to tell the hygeinist to skip to the next episode because hearing about ocean extinction was really peaking my anxiety. Anyway, when I spoke to the dentist he said, yeah, everything is fine except for all of the teeth grinding. I was like, I grind my teeth? And apparently I had been grinding my teeth so hard that I was wrenching my molars out.
I went home and asked my wife, did you know I grind my teeth? And she was like, oh, yeah, totally. All the time.
So I got a nightguard, the name of which makes it sound so much cooler than it actually is. I don't know that it has really helped my grinding - after a year there are little divots on it where my canines have dug in - but hopefully it's doing something.
A week or so ago my daugher knocked the nightguard off of my nightstand onto the floor, where I couldn't find it for a solid four days, and when I found it and cleaned it and popped it back in, it kind of hurt - because my teeth had naturally moved over those four days that I wasn't wearing the nightguard, spreading out slightly or pushing micrometers in one direction or another. By the next morning it was fine but it made me realize a really interesting side effect of wearing the nightguard - my teeth are currently in the same position that they were a year ago. They have remained in stasis for a year, for the first time in my life. As long as I wear this nightguard my teeth will conform to the configuration they were in when the nightguard was originally cast, not because it was a particularly good configuration but that's just what my teeth were when I got the scan done. It's a totally unintended side effect - I'm not wering this like a retainer - but a profound one!
You can probably guess at the obvious emotional comparison I'm working up to here: what are the other things or patterns in my life that are in stasis not because they're particularly good but because they were present whenever I solidified that aspect of my life? How can you tell what you've stumbled into and what actually suits you?