I have had so many major life changes these last few years if I were to list them I would need an Excel spreadsheet. In fact, I did list them out for a counselor about two years ago and she just read it then looked at me and asked if I thought I needed medication. Ha! No.
Change has been such a part of my life for so many years; I have truly come to think of myself like a surfer on life’s ocean. It’s a visual I have come to hold on too when things get rough or I get in over my head. Like a surfer, I have learned to float, to ride the waves, watch for the storms, get knocked off my board and go under swallowing water, climb back up, and now and then I get to ride the tide in and walk on the beach.
This year I decided to take more chances on ME. For too many years I have been a caregiver, a people pleaser, a taxi, giving to the point of exhaustion, then giving more without taking enough time to develop my interests, follow my dreams, or having enough courage to try just for me.
Taking more chances on me sounds great, but it’s hard work. Even while unpacking and sorting through remnants of my parents’ lives, I have been pushing my limits in different ways, continually doing things that are outside of my comfort zone. Oddly enough, this has sometimes caused a chain reaction of weird fears and anxiety over strange things.
I will be having a good day with everything going along fine and some odd senseless fear will crop up and I wonder “what the heck?” and “where’d that come from?” The other day a friend of mine asked me to get on Skype. I hadn’t been on Skype before and out of the blue this stupid fear of the unknown hit me, so I pushed it aside and took the plunge trying out something new. I am still here.
I have had a lot of creeping fear and anxiety following me around like shadows lurking, but I have been teaching myself not to give in, not to dwell on it, just see the fears for what they are – more obstacles trying to keep me from moving forward. I put them in their place and find ways to work past them.
The hardest part of facing fear is the actual facing part. Once you stare fear in the face and denounce it, it tends to shy away or disappear. I pick up my copy of “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway,” by Susan Jeffers Phd. and remind myself now and then that life is about making choices and taking chances and our greatest underlying fear is that we won’t be able to handle things. I love her perspective on how to balance the different areas in life and how to face fears.
Then there are my journals. I don’t know what I would do without the journals, or how I made it without them before. My journals are a place where I brain dump everything that is bothering me, jot down potential solutions, work out ideas, and keep track of my progress in different areas. Journals are a valuable resource.
Comfort zones are nice, but I am in the process of changing, adapting and moving forward in a new direction. I will take the fear and do my best to identify it, then channel it and use it to learn from and grow. Life is a journey and I’m thankful I am still here to experience it.
Cherry Coley (c)