Something about this resonates very strongly with where I am right now in life. Admittedly, the last few years haven't so much shoved me out of my comfort zone as made my comfort zone not all that comfortable—what with the Boobonic Plague and breasty dumplings trying to kill me, followed by a betrayal and break-up of a serious, long-term relationship and all. (Yes, said break-up was absolutely, definitively for the best, but the suddenness and stress, combined with the moving-all-my-stuff-out made for a frantic time in my life.) On the plus side, I didn't have time or energy to be traumatized by turning 40. Not that I'd recommend this particular distraction strategy, but I generally like lemonade more than lemons so there you have it.
Last year, I finally started to feel like myself again. I'd been slowly reawakening to myself, finding sass and spunk where before there was mostly exhaustion. While I was shocked that it took two years to feel like I was getting free from the drama of such major life upheavals, the relief overshadowed the shock.
This year, though, I'm feeling a little more "Now what?" It's the inevitable question when that image comes to mind (which happens more and more frequently lately).
And then I think, "What the Hell, self? We just started finding some actual comfort in our comfort zone, and all of a sudden that makes us twitchy?! SRSLY let's just enjoy this for a bit, shall we?"
But I can't quite get there. While I need a lot of down time to balance myself after social time, it's somehow not as gratifying. And as I learned from a book I just finished, there's an important distinction between gratification and pleasure. They both serve their purpose, but the former seems to be more lasting as it employs using one's skills and strengths to achieve.
Part of it is that I'm struggling a little to find my Inner Fighter. Not that I haven't had to fight to get where I am today; in some ways, that's all I've been doing since 2009. But those battles haven't been on my terms. They haven't been of my choosing. OK, self, how do we go about remembering how to take on a challenge that isn't thrust upon us? What challenge should we choose? And don't forget to ration spoons appropriately, too. (While Spoonless Peg sounds like a nickname for a rough-and-tumble cook on an 1880s chuck wagon, the reality is so much less fun...)
I have an amazing creative outlet singing with the a cappella group I'm in, and some of our music is quite challenging, but it's still within my comfort zone. Over the years I have learned that I'm a decent harmony girl after all, and with the rest of the group beside me I am 10 feel tall and bullet-proof on stage. Plus, if The Diva says I can/should sing something, I trust her so much that it becomes a fact in my world. So... gratifying to some extent, but not challenging in that "Do one thing every day that scares you" kind of way.
Trying to regain some stamina and strength after the forced sedentary nature of my post-plague world is a challenge. But it's so slow and gradual that I can't really say I'm getting any gratification yet. B's Junkyard Gym is difficult, but the folks are so supportive. I'm proud of myself for showing up, but I'm not physically feeling that different yet (except for the soreness that often takes 2 days to fully blossom into the agony of accomplishment). Not sure I can count this, then.
... and with that, we're back to the "Now what?" thing again.
I have a few ideas and I'm kind of terrified so I guess that means I should pursue them.
Besides, another gem of a concept from the book I just finished states that reaching goals is secondary to setting said goals and pursuing them with vigor. Achieving the goal isn't the reward—it's who you become as you go after it.
Kind of a freeing thought, innit? Once you remove failure from the equation, there's more room for making magic.
So, here's to making magic in our lives. Avaunt!
* Yes, just coming up with the not-at-all-revelatory title for this blog kicked My Loud Brain into hyperdrive. There's a weird mash-up of E.L.O. and Olivia Newton John that actually kind of works and makes me wish I had the tools to produce it and share with you all...