Comfort Zone

The other night as I was using my favourite coconut body butter after a shower (yes, I’m one of those weirdos who sometimes showers twice a day). I had finished another body butter that morning, and was happy to be going back to my favourite, finding it comforting. It made me think about what people say about comfort zones. People are always saying “get out of your comfort zone”, “do something that scares you”. Is that always the best advice? Why is it such a bad thing to be comfortable? I understand that yes, there are times when you do need to go away from comfort in order to grow and become a better version of yourself, but where’s the line? Are we supposed to be uncomfortable every day just so that we can experience new things? I don’t think that’s the way it’s supposed to be — at least not for me. If you’re happy being uncomfortable, then go for it. I know there are times that I need to work harder to get out of my comfort zone, speaking in class, making small talk, and many other things. But after I do those things that make me anxious, uncomfortable and make me wish I had stayed in bed and never left the house, I’m happy to have something comfortable to go back to. I think it’s important, for me at least (and maybe you agree), to have a balance between the uncomfortable and the comfortable. The uncomfortable things help me grow and make new friends, and the comfortable help me to stay sane. Maybe one day the things outside my comfort zone will become comforts. Then what will I do?

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Hills

On my ride home from school on the bus today, I was reminded of an experience I had years ago. I was staying at my sister’s house, and had gone out for a run because at the time, she lived by some great pathways. I started my run, and planned out my route in my head, figuring it would go a certain way. As I went up one street, I realized too late that this was in fact a major hill. From further back, it just seemed slightly steep, but nothing to worry about. But the further I got, the more I realized it was something to worry about. At this time in my life, I was pretty fit, so I actually made it up the hill unscathed. There have been other times where the same thing has happened and I have made it to the end, and others where I have given up because either my legs or my lungs just couldn’t take it.

There have been a few times in my life where I have been given a task that seemed doable from a distance. I couldn’t see the difficulties that would arise, nor could I have guessed that there would be moments along the path that I would find it impossible to continue. During some of those moments, I have persevered, knowing that the act of “running up that hill” would lead to me something greater, and in the end make me stronger. But, just like those times when I gave up the run on the hill, I have given up on tasks in life because they were too difficult at the time, and I was too weak in my present state to continue.

I am running back up one of those hills right now, and it is not an easy one to face. Once again, from far away, even after experiencing it and giving up, I thought it couldn’t be that hard. But as I get further along the path, I’m realizing that the weaknesses that I dealt with before are still there, even if I am even just the slightest bit stronger now. I guess that’s the important thing that I’m learning. Weaknesses don’t just disappear when you refuse to acknowledge them. Weaknesses can only become strengths when you put them to the test and overcome them. Definitely easier said then done, I know that. But, with as much MacLean grit as I can muster, I am going to get up that hill. Just one step at a time.

Spring in January?

Once Christmas and New Years areĀ over, I am ready for spring. In my opinion, winter should be over on December 31. And then January comes along and reminds me that spring is still far in the distance. I crave bright colours, ditching the coatsĀ and boots and feeling the sun on my face.

Thankfully this January has been different than most. I think it’s 6 degrees outside. That’s right. It feels like spring is here. Please let this weather stay! Whenever we get a day or two of nice weather I seem to forget what real winter is like and it’s never a good surprise.

I suppose these warm days in the middle of winter are good, even when I know I am being tricked into thinking it’s staying forever. I am reminded that even in the middle of trials (because let’s be honest, winter is a trial), there will be good moments. So, thank you, sunshine for making my day better and reminding me that there is always good in the world.

Unemployment

Today I have officially started my unemployment. I think it may take a while for it to sink in that I don’t have a job, as it just feels like a regular day of today.

Just over a month ago, I was informed at work that in the new year, I would have to change my availability (I was working 8-4, Monday to Friday — bascially unheard of in the retail world), and that I would not be guaranteed my forty hours a week. After that conversation, I knew a change had to be made. I was dead set against working evenings and weekends, which I know may make me sound spoiled, but I did that for about 9 years of my working life, and have really enjoyed the last year of Christopher and I having the same work schedule. Our first year of marriage, we were both in school and working and it was rare to spend more than two hours a day together. I have no desire to ever go back to that.

I had a few interviews at other jobs, but none of them worked out. I can now see that that was actually a blessing in disguise. A few weeks ago, Christopher and I were talking about my situation, about what I was going to do (because I wanted to quit my job before Christmas). We talked about my frustration with my job, the frustration of not finding something. Then I just had thought, why don’t I go back to school in January? The more we talked about it, the more it made sense. In April of 2013, I decided to take some time off from school for numerous reasons, and was unsure of whether or not I wanted to go back. But for about six months now, I have had this nagging feeling that I needed to finish my degree. Regardless of my future career, I need to finish what I started seven years ago when I started my bachelor of arts.

I am really looking forward to being able to focus on my education for a while. I have always loved school, but anxiety, work and other distractions took the enjoyment out of my last two years.

I feel so blessed to have such a supportive husband who just wants me to be happy. We are incredibly lucky that we are able to live off of Christopher’s income right now (though it means I have to cut down my trips to Sephora down quite a bit). And bonus, for the next month I get to live out my dream of being a stay-at-home wife.

Small

Sometimes I hear voices. Yes. Voices. My voices, in my head, telling me stories. I think it’s akin to composers hearing music. Sometimes these moments come out of the blue, sometimes because of a smell, a sight, a feeling. Tonight it comes because of another writer (though I do not think of myself as a writer, being anywhere near this writer’s level), Stuart McLean.
Tonight, as I was listening to The Vinyl Cafe podcast, I was inspired by one short sentence: “There is abundance in scarcity”. Then, while trying to find future Vinyl Cafe concerts, I came across the motto, which hangs in Dave’s record store, “We may not be big, but we’re small.” Then came the voices, and I just had to write. If I don’t, the inspiration leaves and who knows when it will come again.
“We may not be big, but we’re small”. I needed that tonight. I often daydream about our future home with it’s multiple floors, extra bedrooms, double vanities and dedicated library. I think about one day when we have all of our kids running around and I get to fulfill my lifelong dream of being a soccer mom who makes cupcakes and casseroles every day. While I know that those days will come, I tend to get lost in the one days and forget about the today.
Today, we’re not big. We live in our cozy basement (which, yes is an upgrade from our first home), with one bedroom, and one bathroom with one sink. Our “library” also contains a lot of storage, and Christopher’s office. But, we’re small. We can talk to each other when we’re in different rooms (though I apparently have a very quiet voice that doesn’t carry well. We may not have everything we have ever wanted, but we have an abundance of blessings, one of the biggest being our love. I like to think that when we have that big house with all those kids, and soccer balls, and cupcakes, I’ll miss the “small” and “scarce” days. I might miss not having to go up or down stairs to do the laundry, or use the washroom, or get a cookie from the kitchen. I might miss only having one storage room, or one closet (not sure about that one, actually). So, today, I will be grateful for the small. I will look for the abundance in our scarcity. And I will remind myself that I am living today, not someday.

Dance Inside

Remember at the beginning of Saturday’s Warrior, when Pam can dance, then she comes to earth and because she is in a wheelchair, she can’t dance, but she knows that one day she will? That’s how I feel tonight. Every time that I watch So You Think You Can Dance, I am often left breathless, sometimes in tears, and always wishing I could do what they do. But my body can’t do that. But, then I had a thought. My spirit can dance. I feel it.

Running — Sort of.

Tonight, I went for a run. Actually it was more like a jog for thirty seconds, gasp for breath while trying to walk fast for the next five minutes. Maybe not quite that bad. But close.
I really do love to run. Last year, I was running quite a bit in the spring, a bit in the summer, and mostly stopped in the fall. Trying to schedule time, snow, and overall laziness stopped me from doing much for the last eight months. But, knowing that my body needed it, I decided just to do it(I also might have been procrastinating a bit, since I have a talk to finish for tomorrow in church).
Even though the short jog was not great, I did have some time to reflect on my life, and gain some insight.
Sometimes, life is hard. Like really hard. Things happen, like turning the corner and realizing the further you go that you accidentally turned down a street with a steep hill. But when these things happen, you just have to keep going. You keep going, but you don’t have to run your hardest. You can walk as slow as you need to. Because sometimes just getting through that moment is what matters, not how.
And once again, I was reminded that I need to stop comparing myself to others. I am a really slow runner, I need to be okay with that, even if my fastest sprint is slower than Usain Bolt’s slowest walk.