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Anyone who truly knows me knows that I am an external processor. Somehow, when the words actually come out of my mouth, when I can hear them, they metabolize in a different and more complete way.
So, needless to say, when I feel safe with someone (read: they aren’t going to run away from the messiness), they are probably going to hear about the internal dialogue ever-swirling inside me. One such lucky soul (read: gracious soul) caught me right in the thick of this. I was in the last two weeks of my job. I had finally made the decision to leave - a decision I’d been contemplating and knowing needed to be made for months. I was off into another, more uncertain space, the perfect ingredient to accompany all of the other uncertainties in this thing I can only deem a quarter-life crisis.
Oh no, a decision was made. Cue flaily swirly doubt bombs and grief waves, and you’ve got me, in the midst of any significant change in my life. Lately, it feels like pretty much everything is changing. Inside and out. Constantly. And let’s face it, folks, change is freaking uncomfortable.
I talked to this person about the mess that is my life, the change that consumes it, the shame and doubt that follow. And with the kindest look in his eyes - a look that only someone who's been through it can have - he sighed and he said, “Man, what a gift.”
Naturally, I laughed. Because he must have been kidding, right? No gift feels like this hell, right? While I understood philosophically what he was saying, I certainly wasn’t buying it. No reframe in the world was going to change me in that moment. Change is the enemy, remember?
Fast forward to several weeks later. I am sitting in my house pondering more of the same predicaments. And suddenly, his insight hit me in a way that I could feel it. It hit me with such ease and grace that I had to write this article, just to imprint into history how true it is. Because goodness knows, when the next tidal wave hits, I may completely - and conveniently - forget.
If my life was easy, if it all fell into place, if I knew exactly what I needed and wanted and how to get there, would I be growing? Would I be uncovering old wounds that I didn’t even know existed? Would I be healing them? Would I be considering myriad possibilities for living my best life, instead of assuming that it had to go one way? Would I have this growing faith in my ability to get through hard stuff? Would I be looking at my values and how they translate (or don’t translate) to my behavior? Would I be resilient? Would I be me?
What a gift I’ve been given, the ultimate opportunity to truly see and truly heal and truly be. The ultimate stage for practicing self-compassion, forgiveness, mindfulness, and patience, over and over and over again. This is an opportunity that contentment just can’t afford me. It’s here because I’m ready for it. It’s here because I asked for it. It’s here because now is the time. It feels the most intense it has ever felt, and not because it is the worst condition I’ve ever been in. No, when I look more closely, I see, it’s because I am the most aware of it that I have ever been. And that awareness, friends, is also a gift.
At my new job, a colleague shared a quote with me that hit straight to the core and helped me along the way to this conclusion: There’s no comfort in the growth zone, and there’s no growth in the comfort zone. Change is growth, end of story.
So here we are, outside that familiar place of comfort that we've called home for far too long now, transforming our lives and ourselves - sometimes pouting outside by the window while we weather the storm, but weathering all the same.
Here we are, present with this gift we’ve been given.
Pun definitely intended.
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