If you’ve ever been around rehab and recovery speak you likely have heard “IF NOTHING CHANGES, NOTHING CHANGES.”. At attempt at taking responsibility for enacting changes to impact the things in one’s life that are either unwelcome, unpleasant, or unhealthy. I don’t believe that this applies to just addicts and their addictions, I think this applies to every single one of us in a variety of area’s.
What do people complain about? Hate their job? Kids don’t listen? Spouse treats them bad? Need to loose weight, gain weight, any number of things. I admire people who try to challenge themselves and dare to step outside their comfort zone. “Comfort Zone” sounds so comfortable doesn’t it? It is in a way, because it’s familiar and we are as a rule more comfortable with what we know ~ even when there is a negative sector to that comfort. The reality is that our comfort zone is steeped deeply in “what we know” and “what we are used to” and it’s the UNKNOWN that makes us uncomfortable, so there we sit.
I’m as guilty as the next guy of doing this, but I continue to try to challenge myself to NOT live blindly in that comfort zone. I continue to try to evaluate my own personal zone and challenge myself. Honestly being ill with the gastroparesis has hindered that challenge for me sometimes. I am a person by nature and personality who’s neat and orderly and who really likes to know what’s coming next. I DO find comfort in routine, and having gastroparesis has FORCED me to accept that my “routine” cannot be counted on the way it used to be. I don’t know from day to day or hour to hour what is in store for me. If my stomach decides it’s “not a good day” then regardless of how badly my mind wishes to maintain my plans and my routine, my stomach always wins. That has been difficult to say the very least. I’ve had to learn to accept that I may have cancel plans, that my “to-do” list may remain undone for days, and that regardless of where my mental plans might have me going my body can ground me in a flash.
With a great deal of work and tears my “comfort zone” has in fact changed because of this illness, and I’m learning to live with the changes that it has brought to my life. My zone doesn’t end there though; as much as it FEELS like the gastroparesis defines and engulfs my entire life sometimes, the reality is that I’m still human under all of that. My illness does not define the totality of who I am, and there is so much more I want and desire from this life of mine. It has not been easy to deal with these feelings, and I am by all means a work in progress when it comes to defining my own personal “zone”.
Two things in particular come to mind when I talk about this from a personal level. One is romantic relationships, dating etc., and the other is the fact that I do not like living in New York state and want to move. Dating with a tube in your stomach and a chronic somewhat unknown illness is not an easy feat. Talk about bringing “baggage” to the table! It’s a struggle sometimes, but I’ve been doing it. As for not wanting to live in New York anymore, well that too carries with it some struggles. There is the “comfort” of knowing your doctors and having your friends around to help you, along with a whole host of concerns about the actual move and how my body will handle it. Change is stressful, whether it’s positive or negative change that is happening there is still stress involved. If you have trouble grasping how “good change” can be stressful ask any homeowner what they went through in the process of buying their home, or as any bride about how her wedding plan is going ~ yes positive changes can also be stressful!
So I’ll leave you today with these general thoughts about your own personal comfort zone. Is it really all that comfortable, do you embrace change or avoid it? Are there things you would like to change but don’t feel like your ready to? In my next two blogs I’ll talk more in depth about my own two personal points of change in MY comfort zone (dating and moving), how it’s going and what the process is like for me. As always thanks for reading!