One step at a time…

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I recently found myself in bumper to bumper traffic, something that is a semi-regular occurrence for me.  I was inching along when a full-sized pick-up truck squeezed in front of my relatively small car.  I instantly felt annoyed, a reaction that I recognized as not being completely rational.  After all, it’s not like I was going anywhere fast.  One vehicle cutting in front of me wasn’t exactly going to slow me down.

After a few minutes, I realized it wasn’t so much that a vehicle had pulled in front of me, it was that a big vehicle had pulled in front of me.  The truck was blocking my view.  I wanted to be able to see down the road, not just to the end of my bumper.  Hence my feelings of agitation…

It struck me how similar that scenario is to our perception of life.  We don’t want any obstacles blocking our view.  We want to be able to see down the road unobstructed.  And we expend a whole lot of energy being impatient with anything that stands between us and that view.

The truck eventually moved into a different lane, and I instantly felt relief.  Nothing had changed about the traffic except that I could see down the road again.  The irony is that I still didn’t know a single thing about what was ahead than I’d known when the truck was blocking my view.

Visibility doesn’t always bring clarity.

A short time later, the traffic cleared just as suddenly as it had gridlocked.  I’ll never know the reason for the delay but, even if I did, it wouldn’t have changed one inescapable fact…

I would have had to wait regardless.

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Life is like that.  You can think you have a clear enough view of the future to know what’s going to happen down the road but, once you get there, you realize it was just an illusion.  Things might turn out differently than you’d thought – either for better or for worse – and you may never know the reason why.  But, regardless, the journey will still most likely take the same amount of time.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that it seems to me that we spend far too much energy living in the future.  I think it would be foolish not to give it any consideration.  But, it would be equally foolish to live there.

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As the Bible says, “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:34b).

Huh?

Basically, every day has enough trouble of its own.  So, why not just take it one step at a time?

After all – like it or not – no one has ever been able to do anything but…

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Trustworthy…

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At nearly every turn, I see articles and/or books about love, friendships, and relationships but I don’t nearly as often see things written about trust.  Yet every aspect of our lives hinges on it.

Consider this… we trust that our car won’t malfunction and put us in harm’s way while we’re driving, we trust the pilot of the airplane we board to get us safely to our destination, we trust that the company we work for will pay us regularly, we trust that restaurants will serve us food that has been properly stored and prepared, we trust the medical profession to properly diagnose and treat us, we trust the bank with our money, we trust that our friends, family and/or significant other will not betray us in any way.  Trust is foundational to our lives. We all trust whether we like it or not.

We’re often not consciously aware of all the ways that we trust.  And that’s ok.  If we stopped to think every single time before we said or did something – about whether or not we should trust in that instance – life would grind to a halt.  It would actually breed two unwanted things… paranoia and fear. To coin a phrase, we would start finding a demon under every doorstop.  That wouldn’t be healthy or productive.

But the flip side of that coin is that sometimes we trust too much or our trust is misguided.  We shouldn’t trust blindly, although blind trust does have its place.  If your house is on fire and the fire fighter climbs up the ladder to the third floor to rescue you, that is not the time to insist you never trust anyone to carry  you.

One thing I appreciate the longer I live is the benefit of first hand experience.  I’ve learned that I couldn’t trust people I should have been able to trust, and I learned that if someone starts out as untrustworthy, that’s most likely the way they’re going to stay.

I also appreciate the God given gift of gut instinct.  Think of it… if someone betrays your trust, the first place you feel it is in your gut.  It’s like you’ve been kicked in the stomach.  So, while I’m aware that my gut instinct could potentially be wrong, I’m not apt to outright dismiss it.

Instinct always deserves careful consideration.

I’ve decided that the older people get, they often fall into one of two categories… they trust everyone or they trust no one.

You’ve heard about the too trusting ones.  Scam artists target them by phone and/or by e-mail.  If you act in the least way official with these people, they’ll tell you anything.  “Hi, I’m with Bank XYZ.  We inexplicably need you to verify the banking information we should already have.” So, of course, they tell you everything.  The next thing they know, their account is empty.  Or their credit is ruined.  Or both.

But, you’ve also heard of the chronically suspicious people.  They’ve never learned who or what to trust so their policy is to distrust everything and everyone.  Relentlessly.  Irrationally.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to ‘grow up’ to be either of those people.

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I have been badly burned in the trust department – as I’m sure most people have.  Some of it could have been outright predicted; some of it no one saw coming.  Regardless, it would be easy to just decide to never trust again.  After all, it usually only leads to heartache, right? That way of thinking schools us to end up like person #2.  Or we could just keep trusting everyone regardless… and become like person #1.

For me, the hardest part of choosing to trust is letting my guard down.  Allowing myself to be vulnerable is, well, kind of vulnerable.  But, I believe the experiences I’ve had in life to this point have equipped me with the knowledge to make better choices in all areas, including who I can and can’t trust.  That being said, I will probably always go to doctor’s appointments having done at least some background research. I don’t care how good the doctor is, I’m not going in there blind.  And I’ll probably continue to keep certain people at arm’s length because of damaged trust in the past… which is along the lines of eyes wide open.

But, my ultimate goal is balance.  Surrounding myself with quality people who I know I can trust implicitly.  Who I can let my guard down with.  Who I can just be me with.

It’s worth it to figure out the difference.

Trust me.  I know.

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Take a flying leap…

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If someone tells you to take a flying leap, you can be reasonably certain they’re not wishing you well.  It’s the equivalent of them telling you to go away, take a hike, or take a long walk off a short plank.  It’s not something you ever hope to hear.

But, taking a leap of faith is something altogether different.  It’s not so much a leap away from something as it is a leap towards something.  Something that you can’t quite see but still believe exists.

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In many ways, it’s relatively easy to live a safe life.  Many people do.  Their lives are very predictable, risk is a four letter word, comfort zone is their favorite zip code, and change rarely happens unless every angle has first been considered and accounted for.

Don’t get me wrong.  I like my comfort zone as much as the next person.  I prefer to have all the answers before I make a change.  I like a certain degree of predictability in my life.

But…

I only have one life to live.  I want to live the length and the breadth of it.  And, in order to do that, sometimes it means taking a leap of faith.

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I’m at that place right now.

You’d think I’d be comfortable with taking a leap of faith.  After all, much of the past year has been a huge leap of faith on my part.  But, I don’t think it ever gets easier because we humans are generally inclined to feel most comfortable when both feet are planted solidly on the ground.

Even if the ground is less than solid.

Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t, as the saying goes.  Better to deal with someone or something that you’re familiar with and know well – even if it’s less than ideal – than to take a risk with an unknown person or thing.

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I believe God is in control of my life and its direction, and that He will place solid ground under my feet.  As the song says, “takin’ a giant leap in the air, steppin’ out on nothin’ and findin’ somethin’ there…”

That being said, I don’t take any leap of faith lightly.  I exhaust all other avenues first.  Otherwise my actions would just be reckless.  But, when every road you travel leads you to a precipice, you’re faced with the decision to either take a leap of faith or to continue wandering around aimlessly – and miserably- going nowhere and getting nowhere.

Honestly, I’d rather jump.

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I confess that it scares me a bit but I’m confident that taking a leap of faith is the right thing to do and that it’s the right timing to do it.  I don’t know exactly how or when it will work out but I believe it will.  Where I’m headed is better than where I currently am.  Of that, I’m certain, even without knowing the destination.

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You may be wondering what I’ll do if I take my leap of faith, and it doesn’t turn out as I’d hoped.  If it doesn’t turn out well at all.

I’ve had that happen.

The thing about God being in control is that, while He’s always faithful, He’s rarely predictable.  So, sometimes His answers don’t make sense.  Sometimes it feels like you’ve jumped into quicksand.  That’s because He sees the whole picture while we only see our own little piece of the puzzle.

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I haven’t always liked the answer but, in hindsight, I’ve always been able to see the blessing, even if I’ve never fully understood the reasoning.  And I know that God is always faithful.  Always.  It’s not in His character to be anything less.

I look at it this way.  If I do absolutely nothing, I’ll know the outcome almost absolutely.  But, if I take a leap of faith, I’ll be doing something, even if the outcome is uncertain.  And, I would much rather be doing something than be stuck in a rut.  Usually by the time I’m ready to take a leap of faith, I’ve been in a rut much longer than I’d planned because I spent so much time trying to find any other solution.

A leap of faith may be all that’s standing between what you are now and what you want to be.  It could be that easy… and that hard.  But, it could well be the only way.

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Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m about to take a flying leap.  The good kind.  It’s terrifying, and exhilarating, and life changing.

But, consider this… no one has ever been able to change and still remain the same.

So, lace up your sneakers.  You can go first next time.

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It’s a matter of determination…

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Have you ever stopped to consider how determined you are?

I’m a fairly determined person… although there may be a fine line between determined and stubborn.  That being said, I think it’s fair to say that determined implies a goal while stubborn implies inflexibility.  So, the line might not be so fine after all.

But I digress…

Determination is the topic that interests me at the moment because of circumstances in my life that I’m determined to change.  I’ve actually changed a lot about my circumstances over the past year but one key area has yet to be satisfactorily resolved.  But I’m determined to see it through to the end.

What exactly is determination?

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Hmmm, fortunately the word ‘goal’ was thrown in there, otherwise it was starting to sound a bit like ‘stubborn’ to me…

That definition is good but this perspective on determination is actually key.

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I confess that I find it way easier to stare at a challenge than to look past it.  After all, it’s right in my face.  But I know from experience that if you stare at a challenge long enough, your determination will disintegrate into discouragement.  And it’s a steep climb back up.  So, as hard as it can be sometimes, I’d much rather discipline myself to see past my challenges than to go down that slippery slope.

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Another enemy of determination is time.  If challenges aren’t conquered relatively quickly, it’s easy to start seeing them as obstacles.  I don’t think it’s any coincidence that obstacle and obstinate are so close in the dictionary.  To me, an obstacle sounds more permanent and, well… more obstinate… than a challenge so I’d prefer to just keep that word out of my vocabulary and mindset entirely.  I’ll stick with a good, old fashioned challenge, thank you very much.

But, with all this talk of what determination is, it’s equally important to talk about what determination isn’t.

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Some people are known for their ruthless determination.  I want to be known for my right determination.  Determination that inspires, motivates, and encourages others.  Determination that perseveres.  Determination that’s focused on doing something worthwhile with my life.  I want my determination to be a virtue, not a vice.

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So, consider this…

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I’m reasonably certain that I’m not destined for success but I can confidently say that I’m determined to succeed.  To be honest, I would much rather work for my success than fall into it just because I was destined.  So I guess I’m determined not to be destined.  Maybe I am a bit stubborn after all…

Speaking of stubborn, these images prove that some will go to great lengths to overcome a seemingly impossible challenge while others will hang on when most would have let go long ago.  Great examples of determination.

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So, that being said, this is my final determination…

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An analysis of the obvious…

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A man with an impossibly long name once said…

“The obvious is always least understood.”blog13

Prince Klemens Wenzel Nepomuk Lothar von Metternich

Keeping with that subject, a man with a fairly succinct name phrased it like this…

“To spell out the obvious is often to call it in question.”

Eric Hoffer

On the surface, both of these statements seem strange.  After all, isn’t the obvious… well… obvious???  The answer is both yes and no.  It all depends on the person.

blog6There are people who see the obvious and it makes perfect sense to them while there are others who see the obvious but don’t interpret it as such.  They tend to think there’s a hidden meaning of some sort and/or they question the validity of what they’re seeing.  It’s amazing how many people think that the obvious is too obvious.  That there has to be a catch of some sort.  They want things spelled out for them but, when they are, they never quite believe it.  They question it.  They dismiss it.  They outright reject it.

I think about this with Christianity.  The Bible says,  “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Romans 10:9 (NLT)

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Confess and believe.  It doesn’t get more straightforward than that.  But, many people think it can’t be that easy.  They question it.  They add to it.  They discard it entirely.  Some churches and religious groups are even guilty of doing that.  Not all… but many.

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Sometimes I think people are more apt to believe something complicated over something obvious.

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This translates to virtually every aspect of life.  Spell something out or state the obvious, and there will always be those who refuse to believe it.  It’s too obvious.  I think nearly every person on the face of the earth has done this at one time or another, myself included.  We say we want the obvious but when we get it, we don’t like what we see.  So, we rationalize why we should circumvent it.  Or ignore it.  Or why it doesn’t apply to us.blog9

And therein, I think lies the key to how we interpret the obvious.  To accept it as the obvious, we have to be comfortable with it and it has to conform to our reality.  But, that doesn’t make the obvious any less obvious.  Or any less true.  Our perceptions are not always reality.

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So, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that what’s obvious is obviously not obvious.

Disclaimer:  This analysis of the obvious is open to interpretation as it may not be obvious to everyone.

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Hi, my name is Joy…

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Over the past 10 months, I’ve lost count of the number of new people I’ve met, both personally and professionally.  At times, it’s been daunting.  I always hope to make a good impression but I’m never really sure.

To keep things in perspective, I remind myself that it’s one thing to want to make a good impression but another thing entirely to strive to present myself in the best possible light, but authentically.  The former is good but the latter is better.

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As Dr. Seuss so articulately put it,

“Today you are you, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive who is youer than you.” 

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Every single person on the face of the earth is unique, me included.  That doesn’t mean I’m perfect.  Not even close.  But, God created me uniquely for a reason, and it would be an insult to Him to try to be someone or something that I’m not.  I want to be…

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I think the main reason we resist being ourselves is a fear of rejection but I would rather be rejected for being me than for being an impersonation.  On the flip side, I would much rather be accepted for being me than for being someone else.

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So…

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Some of you know me but most of you don’t.  I thought I’d properly introduce myself by telling you a baker’s dozen random things that make me uniquely me.  Even those of you who do know me will probably learn something new.

Here goes…

  • I’m 100% Canadian.  I was born on the east coast and currently live on the west coast.  I’ve lived in 3 provinces and 1 territory, and I’ve driven from coast to coast (all 10 provinces, which equates to roughly 7300 km or 4500 miles), although mercifully not all at once.  Ironically, I am not a fan of either cold or snow – 2 things quite indigenous to Canada.
  • I’ve been the only female born into my family in over 51 years… with no end in sight.
  • I love sports.  I particularly love watching junior and NHL hockey (boys/men’s), PGA/Master’s golf (men’s), NASCAR, Formula One, Monaco Grand Prix, and Wimbledon tennis, to name just a few.  I also love watching TSN’s SportsCentre, especially when Jay and Dan are the co-hosts.
  • Beef is my favorite food group (with sincere apologies to any vegetarians but little remorse and likely no repentance…).
  • Professionally, I tend to come across as self-assured but, personally, I can be a little shy sometimes.
  • I’m typically not a games person but I love playing Scrabble (and I’m actually pretty good at it).
  • I dislike reading instruction manuals of any kind, and will go to ridiculous lengths to avoid doing so.
  • I have fibromyalgia that is controlled by medication, exercise, and diet.  I’m far too stubborn to let it run my life any more than it absolutely has to.
  • I love reading true crime (except about serial killers) and also watching true crime shows like Dateline or 48 Hours Mystery but nearly every other remotely scary thing, either real or imagined, gives me nightmares.
  • I’m largely supposed to avoid sugar but my dessert of choice is New York style cheesecake (and the richer, the better).  It tastes even better when you can only have it once in a blue moon (which, by my calculations, should be any day now).
  • I’ve had migraines for 24 years.  Next year, I’m planning to celebrate my first migraine free year in 25 years.  I believe in miracles.
  • My first concussion happened when I was 8 and drove my brother’s bike (complete with banana seat and high handlebars) as hard as I could into the side of a brick Christian reformed church.  I feel obliged to point out that I did not do that on purpose.
  • I once got MSG poisoning at a Chinese buffet, fainted on the cutlery table, and cracked a couple of ribs.  Needless to say, I’ve been studiously avoiding MSG ever since (not an easy feat given that it’s in everything these days…).

There you have it.  13 facts unique to me.  So allow me to formally introduce myself.

Hi, my name is Joy…

I am noordinaryjoy61.

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Get out of the zone…

snoopy 3The past year has shown me how important it is to step outside of my comfort zone and just live life.  Sounds easy enough, eh?  Well, when you do that, you never know what will happen.  What you can count on is that you will almost never expect what will end up happening… when it will happen or how it will happen.

I’ve experienced my share of ‘unexpected’ over the past few months.  Some of it quite frankly not so good.  Some of it good.  And some of it very good.  All of it surprising.

But, if I’d stayed in my comfort zone, I never would have experienced any of it.  If I’d been too worried that something bad would happen, I never would have experienced any of it.  I would have missed out.

And consider this.  Staying in your comfort zone only means that it’s a familiar place.  Not that it’s a productive place.  Or a positive place.  Or an interesting place.  Or a healthy place.

My comfort zone became so uncomfortable that stepping outside of it became the only viable option.  The unknown became far less scary than the known.snoopy 2

Here’s the thing.  Living life involves risk.  Just because some risk doesn’t turn out well doesn’t mean you should hold your cards even closer to your chest.  It just means you should dust yourself off, get back up, and keep living life.  Learn from the bad, embrace the good, and cherish the great.

But, live.

I only have one life to live, and I am determined to live the length and breadth of it for as long as God grants me time.  The good, bad, and the unexpected.

No fear.

Well, ok, I have to confess that I do feel fear more than I would like.  But I’m not going to let fear stop me.  Fear paralyzes, faith mobilizes.  God has brought me this far, and I have faith that He isn’t about to let go of me now.

The bad has increased my faith and changed me in ways that I probably needed to change.  The good and the great have made the trip worth it.

I still don’t have either a permanent job or even a permanent address.  The sum total of my belongings doesn’t come close to filling a 5″ x 5′ storage unit.  The things I expected to happen haven’t (yet…) but other things I never expected to happen have.  I have a lot to be thankful for.

Expect the unexpected… and then expect something else.

There’s no sense in worrying about what may or may not happen because the one certainty is that I’m never going to be able to accurately predict how things will unfold.  And, even if I do, worrying will never have a thing to do with the outcome.  Worry doesn’t change things.  It only feeds fear.

So, no worrying.  Well, less worrying.  More faith.  Less fear.  More living.

Just do it.

Live life.

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No ordinary Joy…

2012.

This is the year I decided to start really embracing life, to live life to the fullest, and to be as joyful as possible despite what might be happening at any given time.

It all started when my beloved dog, Max, passed away suddenly on Easter Monday from a catastrophic intestinal tumour at the relatively young age of 7.  I was beyond devastated.  He had been in my life less than two and a half years, and then he was gone.

But, as I grieved, I reflected on Max’s zest for life, his love for everyone and everything, and his quirky sense of humour.  The first five years of his life, he had been owned by an alcoholic who mistreated him and kept him chained outside.  Max had every reason to become a vicious, snarly, and confrontational dog, yet he was the very opposite.  His circumstances were part of his story but they didn’t define him.  He was the kindest, most loving, most giving, most caring dog I have ever known.  I miss him.

Max’s death became the catalyst to one of the most important decisions in my recent life.  Two months later, I fled my marriage.  I had been married for just over 11 years, with the last 4 years marked by increasing control, isolation, and verbal abuse.

I learned that, for real change to happen in a marriage, it takes two.  If one person doesn’t want to participate or is resistant, change is impossible.  But, only in the marriage, not in the individual who wants the change.

So, I chose to change me.  I took only what I could fit in my compact car and drove 2720 km across three provinces to start over in a new city.  I didn’t have a job or a place to live but I believed I was in the right city, and that things were going to come together.

I ended up being called for a job interview within minutes of arriving in Calgary, and I found a place to live before the end of the week.  But, things weren’t perfect.  The job wasn’t full-time, and didn’t pay especially well, and I had to live in a motel for several days because the apartment wasn’t available until the first of the month.

The apartment was just a tiny, one room bachelor, but it was furnished and it was affordable.  Within a few weeks, I was offered a full-time job that paid much better.  The only problem was that it was only a short-term contract.

Since the job wasn’t permanent, I kept looking for work.  I recently had three interviews for one job, and they wanted a reference list with at least one current reference.  I gave them the contact information for my current boss, but only on the condition that it be used upon an accepted offer of employment.  They readily agreed but then turned around and almost immediately sent my boss an e-mail, requesting that a reference be given by way of a detailed questionnaire.

I ended up turning that job down late the next day because of the reference and a few other things they had been needlessly dishonest about.  But, three days later – on November 1st – I was terminated from my current job because my boss was still rightfully upset about having been blindsided with the reference request.  My work was never called into question.

Since it was just prior to the three month mark, I was terminated without notice, without severance, and without the ability to apply for Employment Insurance. 11 days later, I still have no job, no income, and no money and, as of November 30th, I also won’t have a place to live.

I won’t pretend this has been easy.  I had never been terminated before, and it was a traumatic experience.

I do have a job interview tomorrow that, if successful, would take care of my employment and a place to live in one fell swoop. But, this is the thing.  There’s no guarantee it’s going to come through.  Life has its up and downs.  Stuff happens.  People are dishonest.  People are needlessly mean.  Money comes and goes, jobs come and go, people come and go, but NO ONE can take my joy without my permission.  It’s MY joy.

It doesn’t mean that I’m never sad, that I don’t cry, that I don’t have a hard time sometimes but I am determined to bounce back faster and higher each time I’m knocked down.  I’m determined to see the funny side of life, to laugh more, to love more, to be thankful more, to be more joyful.

I am ALIVE, and I’m living life to the fullest.  I’m in a better place now than I was six months ago.  All things are relative.  I’m BLESSED.  I have a wonderful son, wonderful friends, and wonderful family.  I have been shown uncommon kindness that I can never repay.  I have seen miracles happen, that are not explainable other than to say they are evidence that God continues to be in control of my life.

I’m THANKFUL.  I’ll be thankful if I get the job tomorrow and I’ll be thankful if I don’t.  There’s a reason for everything, and we shouldn’t get everything we pray for.  If God says “no”, it’s always for a good reason.  I’m GRATEFUL.  I’m grateful to be me.  I wouldn’t want to be anyone else.  I’m grateful for what I’ve experienced – the good and the bad – because it’s all brought me to this moment and shaped me into the person I am today.

“Joy is what happens when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.”   – Marianne Williamson

2012.

This is the first year of the rest of my life.  I’m determined to live with abandon, to love unconditionally, to be a better person, mother, friend, sister, and employee, to live my life as an example of Gods grace, to be kinder, to be happier, to be more joyful.  I’m going to succeed, I’m going to finish my book, I’m going to become a public speaker, I’m going to overcome, I’m going to laugh more, I’m going to love more.

I am going to be no ordinary Joy.  You can count on it.

Got change?

Change has been a major theme in my life in 2012.  I lost my beloved dog, Max, to cancer very suddenly on Easter Monday, and I was laid off just as suddenly four days later. The remaining changes began mid-June, when I separated from my husband and moved three provinces west to Alberta.  Since then, I’ve gotten a new address, new job, new car, new church, new friends, new wardrobe, new hairstyle, and new hair colour.

Years ago, it was popular to complete a checklist of all the major changes that had taken place in your life, tally the score, and then see where you fell on the stress scale.  It didn’t take a checklist for me to recognize that, at least on paper, my stress levels were off the charts.  But, while I went through a phase of intense stress, I persevered, and came out the other side, emerging into a place of great peace and happiness.  I wouldn’t want to relive the past few months but I’m deeply grateful for them because, otherwise, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

As much as we wish it were otherwise, there’s often no gain – or little gain – without pain.

I think change has gotten a bad rap because it’s assumed that change = stress.  All pain and no gain (an urban myth).  So change tends to inspire fear.  What fear accomplishes is that it keeps us paralyzed, determined to avoid change at all cost.  The longer we give into fear, the more it grows until, before long, we find ourselves firmly ensconced in our comfort zones.  Comfort zones are misleading because the very word “comfort” inspires warm and fuzzy when, in fact, the longer you stay there, the more it becomes your prison.  Life becomes very scaled down.  The sky is no longer the limit… the ceiling is.

Think of it in terms of football.  Players love to make it to the end zone because that’s where the touchdowns are scored.  It’s where the gain is.  The rest of the field is where the pain is.  But just image if the players decided they were never going to leave the end zone.  It would lead to a very boring game.  In fact, it wouldn’t even be possible to have a game anymore.  The players would be left living in the past because that’s where the action was.

That’s one of the ways you can tell who is in their comfort zone a little too securely.  They’re largely left living in the past.  Or living vicariously through other people.  Their world has shrunk until it fits into all too comfortable dimensions, effectively cutting off change, and eventually even the possibility of change.

This often happens, at least to some degree, to people as they get older but it happens to younger people too.  The constant is that they experienced negative and unexpected change at some point.  Maybe they lost a job, failed in university, had a failed relationship or marriage, went bankrupt, etc.  But the common thread is that fear paralyzed them into thinking that if they just stay in their comfort zone from that point onward, they will never have to experience that sort of  change again.  Even if it’s true, at what cost???

The best things in my life have come from change.  At the very least, the world is constantly changing, whether I like it or not.  I can either embrace some of that change or get left behind.  Become irrelevant, dated, out of touch.

The way I see is that I only have one life to live so I want to live it to the fullest.  I want to take chances, make changes, try new things, keep an open mind, push through fear, and focus on the positives.  I want to be hopeful, joyful, optimistic.  I want my best and most interesting years to be the next 50 and not the last 50.  I don’t want to be defined by walls or ceilings but to be continually reaching for the stars.  I don’t want the question to be “what if” but “why not”.

So, have I changed anybody’s mind?  I hope so.  It might mean taking a total change in direction from time to time but the benefits of change will far outweigh the negatives.  It’s time to change it up!!!

“I have accepted fear as a part of life, specifically the fear of change, the fear of the unknown, and I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back, turn back. . . .” — Erica Jong