The Gift of Discomfort
I've been in my new life for almost two weeks. While the beauty and downright pleasantness of the physical environment has been only positive and breathtaking, the welcome of friends and new neighbours has been open and heartfelt, and the local offerings of food and drink have been plentiful and delicious, it has also been...uncomfortable.
I'm living in someone else's house, temporarily. Only some of my stuff is here, and -- turns out -- some of what I thought I'd need, I don't and some of what I didn't think I'd need (or want), I do. And it's all in suitcases or Rubbermaid containers or giant Ziploc bags. And I can't remember where anything is, or if it's even in the house or did I pack it in the shipping container?
I don't know where anything is, not only in the house, but also in the community.
I'm driving someone else's vehicle -- what feels like a massive, cumbersome truck with unfamiliar sight lines and edges and a sketchy turning radius. And I'm driving on streets (so narrow!) that are unfamiliar, over distances and through traffic patterns that are hard to gauge, relying on a GPS that sometimes knows which streets you can actually turn left onto and which you can't, to try to get Chloe to camp, or to the bank to set up accounts or get a really big bank draft to close our house deal, or to get fuel for the truck, or dog food or people food.
I'm without a place to go and a thing to do every day -- a team of people to manage and support and champion -- like I did when I had a corporate job. It's oh so freeing, but also a bit...weird? That might be the right word. I've had one or more jobs (working for someone else) since I was about 15. So, yes. This is weird.
I mean, I'm still coaching as a job, but I'm in an in-between space of winding down "old" clients and creating strategies to connect with "new" clients. I'm exploring working with a remote coaching company -- I've been through the first two rounds of the interview process -- and also exploring joining a ground-breaking start-up, so that's all very exciting. I signed on to deliver and receive reciprocal coaching through the ICF for the next three months and am working toward renewing my credential. My coaching practice is very theoretical right now, with many possibilities, nothing for sure. Every day is a little different...and, depending on what materializes or doesn't for coaching contracts, my days may look dramatically different in the coming weeks and months than they do today.
Maybe that's the part that feels weird -- I don't have an established routine yet.
I like routine. It gives me a structure within which to be creative. I don't like too much structure, otherwise I feel confined and stifled, but enough that I don't just sit on the couch and watch Netflix all day and then feel bad that I didn't "get anything done."
I'm not in any hurry to create a new routine -- summer should be fluid with lots of room for spontaneity! However, a rough routine is emerging as Chloe goes to one camp or another during weekdays, I do some work, run some errands, walk Morris, then pick Chloe up, followed by dinner, a family outing in the evening and wide open weekends for kayaking, canoeing, hiking or whatever festival is on in the area. Lots of room for spontaneity. I think that may change once school starts in the fall and we'll settle into more of a regular pattern in our new home. For now though, it's all good being unknown and fluid.
And, as I reflect on the mild discomfort that brings, I acknowledge I've had some wins:
I've manoeuvred the truck into what feel like too-small parking spaces in too-small parking lots without causing any damage.
My stress about driving here is slowly subsiding -- I made it through rush-hour traffic downtown-ish yesterday! And landmarks and routes are starting to feel more familiar day by day. Sometimes I don't even use the GPS!
I've walked somewhere beautiful every day; some days, more than once. A rocky or sandy beach. Through a forest. Around the neighbourhood.
I've socialized more in the past two weeks than I probably did the last two months in Saskatchewan. Chatting with neighbours and their dogs daily as we walk Morris. Friends from Vancouver hanging out on the Island on a Saturday. Canoeing with a friend on a Sunday morning. Popping over to some other friends' place and playing a cool board game. Cocktail hour with neighbours. Planning play dates for Chloe with the kids next door.
One of the goals in moving out here was to be more active and therefore more healthy. I'm happy to say my blood sugars have been amazingly and consistently within range AND I've even shed a few extra pounds I've been hauling around.
This bit of mild discomfort is allowing me to examine how I structure my life. What are the old habits I want to shed? What are the new things I want to put in their place? It's given me to opportunity to try new things -- whether I want to or not! -- which is something I encourage my coaching clients to do all the time.
What's the saying? A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. We don't change if we aren't at our edge. By seeking out discomfort, it eventually becomes comfortable, and then we need to seek out the next thing. This is how we grow and evolve and become who we might have never thought we'd be.
So I'm reminding myself, in those moments of extreme discomfort especially, when the GPS is recalculating and I'm forced to dance in the moment of rush-hour traffic, to view it as a gift -- a gift to push myself, to see what I'm made of, what I can find to laugh at and bring lightness to, and to decide how I want this new phase of my life to be.
Where have you stepped outside your comfort zone recently?
What's waiting for you out there?
In love and light,