Life of Liz

Eureka! Stepping outside of my ~~Comfort Zone~~

In Out of the Comfort Zone on October 24, 2012 at 6:39 am

I am the pilot of a ship; it is foggy and I’ve slowed down to check our location.While the ship is slowed, the rest of the ships are sailing along fine; they are comfortable with the directions and easily managing the trip.  My ship isn’t sure why I am still slowed to a standstill now.  Maybe the other ships are newer or more technologically advanced than mine.

My captain notices the stoppage and after checking the engine and confirming the route is on track he approaches me to ask why we are not moving.  I have no answer.  I am frozen.  He asks if I am questioning if the map is wrong.  He inquires if I am fearful of the water.  I respond “No” to both questions.  I try to convince him to go back to his other responsibilities, but he won’t leave.  And then it becomes clear to me.  It must be the dense fog that has engulfed our ship.  I need to know before I start up again what the unchartered waters will have in store.   I want the sun to rise and chase away the fog.

My captain reassures me it is safe to proceed forward; but he can’t force me to pilot the ship…so dear friends, my ship is just sitting in the water.

And this is how I am feeling most days in regards to my Grandma’s impending move into our house.  Henry and I are doing well.  I am feeling more settled in ‘us’.  But I can’t get in front of my stress.  It must be the amount of mental energy that is being consumed by Grandma’s move.  I am not really acting like myself and I just can’t seem to get back on track.  Emails are going unanswered.  Dinners are started, but not served.  Laundry is sorted but not washed.  But, I am doing ‘just enough’ that no one is really seeing how off I am.  Henry is not a micromanager.  He believes in a high degree of personal accountability and patiently can let others figure things out on their own timeframe.  Our only rules are the 3 D’s and no wine during the week.  I’ve never been exposed to having H manage our home.  I don’t know how I would react to his involvement.  It could push me further down the rabbit hole, which is away from him and away from the desired destination.  Or would it help me take the focus off of the FOG and just begin the task at hand?  It’s a 50/50 gamble.

Henry asked me to write down my biggest hurdles.  Here is what I came up with and I’d appreciate any feedback on knocking them down.  First, I am an introvert.  I recharge my internal battery through reflection and alone time. Most of our kids are similar and don’t question ‘alone time’.  Grandma is an extravert.  Also, our daily life is unstructured and flexible.  I am constantly reacting to my kids and H’s changing schedules and adjusting mine accordingly to make sure everything gets done.  Grandma is very structured.  Our meals are flexible since the kids have practices, school activities and H has no set quitting time.  During the week dinner is usually something I prepared during the day that can be served individually.  Or if you don’t like what I made I am ok with you making something different for yourself.  I guess my kids and H are just not very picky b/c we can have the same 6-7 meals every week and everyone is happy.  This is not how Grandma operates.  Dinner is at 5.  It is a meat/starch/veggie/bread and has a nice variety.   Oh, and Grandma likes to watch a lot of TV.  Her soaps start at 11 and followed bysome talk shows of the Dr. Phil variety and finished up with a couple game shows … that will get you to about 5pm when Lifetime starts their movie programming.  She will have a TV in her room, but I can’t expect, nor would I want her to be in her room all day.  However, I never turn the TV on during the day.  It comes on for an hr or so when the kids get out of school and then off until primetime shows begin.

As I re-read what I’ve typed I realize that everything is about my *comfort zone* getting out of whack.  Yep, right back to my control issues.  At times the stretching and pulling of ttwd and now of Grandma’s move is just too much.  I think that is why my ship is stalled.

So I am not afraid of the FOG.  No, it is the lack of comfort in the FOG that is shutting me down.

Why am I being stretching and pulled and moved outside of my comfort zone?  How am I going to respond? When we are uncomfortable, do we have the will to push us through?  This is where my fear is prevalent.  It is not the FOG!  It is the loud voice in my head that chants “you can’t do this… you are weak…you are a fraud…grandma in your house will expose who you really are”.  Is God trying to rid me of the hold those thoughts have over my life?  Henry also has a role in shaking my comfortable world.  For starters for the first time in my adult life I am accountable for my actions and my words.  Henry and I are having daily conversations about how I am doing = more discomfort.

So back to the ship – if I can go and put on a jacket and realize the FOG is not that cold, maybe we can get this ship moving forward again … and funny enough, my captain is already headed to the coat closet ~Liz

  1. Hi Liz! Glad I found your blog. I accepted another family member into our family a year ago. It’s an adjustment for everyone but I suspect you’ll do great! Why? because of how you described your life. You take your role seriously and you work around what everyone needs-this, BTW- is a hallmark of a healthy family! You’ll find a way for Grandma needs to be met without disrupting the entire family, the entire time-you’re good at your job!

    • Hi Saorise and thanks for reading my blog. I’d love to hear more about how your family made the adjustment to having a new member b/c it is the day to day that has me most concerned. On some level I guess I do agree that Grandma will ‘fall into place’ but until that happens it leaves a lot of room for what-if’s to creep in. Anything that you’ve done that worked, or things that didn’t work that you could pass on is very appreciated.

  2. I agree with MLB, you’re seeking to merge two worlds, and the change affects every member of you immediate and extended family, and the way you live – it’s okay, normal, understandable to feel overwhelmed, to not know just how to proceed. The tasks are mundane, but not in the context of what is to come, and how your family will be reformulated.

    It is okay to ask for help, and Henry will appreciate the opportunity to support and carry you. I don’t always understand it myself, but I know that I can see Ward grow stronger when I give my worries and fears and reticence to him.

    • Thanks for the encouraging words, June. Some days are better than others and writing about my stress is actually helping a lot more than I anticipated. Henry tries to help, it’s just a matter of me accepting the help. 🙂

  3. Wow Liz, I’ve been there – done that. The comfort zone is tough. Don’t feel bad for feeling stressed. It’s as much the unknown as anything. How will you respond, how will grandma respond, what will happen with meals, what will happen with food in general, what will happen with the kids schedules…
    IT IS SCARY, it is overwhelming and it is stressful. Give yourself a break. Give yourself permission to be nervous. Ask for extra support. Take one issue at a time and decide how much you can give up of your past routine and how much you need to keep the same. Good luck. It will take change and support on all sides to make it work. You can do it!!!

    • Thank you SirQsMLB. Your comments are what I need to hear and remember. Writing down my stresses is really helping. To see them and then realize I don’t have to attack each one at the same time is comforting. I know a lot of the items will play themselves out and I also *logically* know that once Grandma is here some of the things will just blend into our life. It is an unknown road for me, for my family. It’s also going to be rough for my Grandma. She has been living alone since her 2nd husband passed 9 years ago and giving up her apartment, selling her car and belongings is tough. Some days she seems to be embracing the move well; some days she is borderline hostile. My fears don’t even take into consideration how she might be when the move happens.

      I think I am going to talk to Henry about helping me staff focused during my day~realizing he is not a taskmaster, but asking if he is open to giving me direction right now. Idk! You might see a post tomorrow about not wanting what you ask for! lol. I am all over the board. Thanks for your enouragement though. Very appreciated. Have a nice day. ~Liz

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