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Boston to Provincetown: Comfort Zone Blues

Friday, July 27, 2012

In about 2 1/2 hours I will find out if I still have a job. My program was defunded and the agency has said it would find a way to make our now part-time job back into full-time. A stress eater, I have been bouncing up and down weight-wise with the the same 10 lbs since the news on 6/29/12. I have tried half-heartedly to look at things as half-full, rather than half-empty since then with minimum luck. I can't stay where I am if the job remains part-time so I've started job hunting. Also hanging over my head is the realization that I can't continue to live where I am because I won't be able to afford it. I've investigated retiring but can't for 2 more years.

Getting ready for work this morning, I slipped lower and lower into depression, negativity, and catastrophizing (a term from Jon Kabat-Zinn). My stomach was in knots; I couldn't focus. I wandered the house unable to find my glasses, my car keys or even my lunch. I saw visions of my partner (who is unemployed) and me living in a shelter. Driving to work I couldn't focus on the road and so became a danger to myself and others. After I ran 2 red lights in a row I knew I had to deal with my fear and "get a grip." OK, I've had 35+ years of therapy (off and on) and 40+ years of reading self-help books, how could I do this? Then I remembered a conversation I had had recently with my partner about "comfort zones."

Yes, my comfort zone has been expanded whether I am ready or not; my mind has been jolted out of its complacency, again, whether I 'm ready or not. Hmmmm... if I refocus my thinking into a positive bent, how much better would I feel mentally and physically? Or, in the words of a useful self-help book, how do I "feel the fear and do it anyway?"

Eleanor Roosavelt said that life was either a great adventure or it was nothing. So I've decided I'm on a great adventure. My comfort zone is being expanded and contains growing pains. Another piece wrapped up within these changes is my worry over some minor memory "blips." I'm so afraid of getting Alzheimers like my mother. I've read that a key to keeping the brain healthy is to keep it active by learning new things - to stretch it, use it. Learning a new job(if necessary) will do that. Figuring out Social Security and Medicare will do that. Rresearching senior housing will do that. Reworking financial plans will also do that.

Maybe that's why I've been ambiguous about getting healthy. Being fat, in pain, and afraid has been my "comfort zone" for so long, I can't (on a deep level) imagine anything else. I can't imagine NOT stress-eating. I can't imagine NOT feeling afraid all the time. I can't imagine change. Stay tuned....


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RUBYCLAIRE 7/29/2012 10:54AM

    Wow, Brenda, although I have not gone through what you are presently experiencing, except for the Alzheimer fears, I can understand how stressful it must be, but you have just been have given some GREAT advice.

Keep referring to your POSITIVE self-help books to continually give you boosts. Whenever you feel you thoughts and fears are getting all consuming once again, stand back and remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said that should be an adventure. Always look for as many positives as you possibly can in any situation.
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If push comes to shove, then shove right back with gusto. Who knows, maybe this change is exactly what the doctor ordered so you can get into something that will be less stressful for you.

If you do find that you must move from your present place and into senior housing, it too may be the best of all changes and less stressful, BUT, look for something closer to the North Shore and MY neck of the woods. (I just had to throw in that plug for Middlesex County. Ha, ha, ha!

Seriously speaking again, we are all here to give you as much emotional and spiritual support as we possibly can. You are among friends here on Spark, who genuinely have you in our hearts & thoughts.

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Comment edited on: 7/29/2012 10:55:42 AM

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2BMYOWN 7/28/2012 3:52AM

    I can't remember who said it, but someone posted a ditty on my FB wall that says, "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone". I'll try to find it later on and let you know who said this, I'm not trying to 'plagiarize' or anything here. I have thrown comfort zone out the window, pretty much. I've been thru nothing but upheaval for going on two years now, leaving a relationship of 25 years, leaving the home I'd had for longer than that, and leaving nursing, which I've done for the past 14 years. And now I am effectively unemployed with no real prospects other than temporary work, given my age. But you know what I've found? I've found excitement...and challenge. And if I have to just start taking one temp job after another, then so be it. It's exciting to try new things and meet new people and do things you've never done. I'm actually busier right now than I was when I was working, but enjoying it much more. You never know what life is gonna throw your way, but all you can do is go with the flow and remain in the present and just concentrate on what you're doing NOW, not what you've done all your life, and not what you fear tomorrow might hold. You have no control over yesterday or tomorrow....the only time you have any amount of control over is NOW. And you can spoil your now in a big way by stewing in your fears about everything else. Let it go, Prov.....just do what you need to do for now, and take it one step at a time because that is essentially all you can do. Check out unemployment if you lose your job, and trim your belt, expenses-wise, to conserve, and take a deep breath and know that your life and everything else is going to work out exactly as it is supposed to. As for your memory lapses, you can do that to yourself by dwelling in your stress, especially as you get older. When your comfort zone ends, as it does for us all, you need to find yourself a new comfort zone. And enjoy the ride, as hard as it seems to your psyche to do that...but it can be done. Also remember that you draw negativity to your life by being negative, so quit listening to, and feeding, the negative voice in your head. It will defeat you, but only if you permit it to, and you do not have to permit it to. And I am fully aware of how hard it is to do that....ask Debigene. LOL I am just now trying to overcome a whole lifetime of being negative, and it still pops out now and again, and it always disappoints me when it does because it shows I still have a very long way to go, with this. I permitted negativity to rule my life and myself for over 50 years....and all it did was totally defeat me. And I'm not going to give in that easily. I'm going to win this race, come hell or high water. 'Cause ya know what? We're freaking worth it, and so are our lives. This damned world is not gonna cave us. LOL

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DEBIGENE 7/27/2012 9:35AM

    Dear sweet PROV, I can not stress to you the power of positive thinking !!! You must do this !!!! After all your years of reading self help books you know what I say is true, right ?? Just read over this blog you just wrote and listen to your negativity and then re write it in a postive manner. I guarantee you will feel better my friend. Please know that you are in my prayers for God's guidance to lead you in the positive direction and put your faith in Him. He knows what you need and will provide if you let Him !!

God Speed my friend. Have a marvelous day now !!! HUGS

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