Growing up, one of my best friends and I had a saying I practically lived by. I was really big into quotes back then; they’d motivate me for those hard high school days, and they’d lift me up during those angsty, teenager moments. They also help me feel like I wasn’t alone and that growing up and moving on to the next adventure was a good thing. The quote we came up with was this (and I still remember it after all these years): “Always force yourself into an uncomfortable place. Stay away from your comfort zone in order to develop a new one. Go with the flow.”
I mean, that’s pure gold right there!
Try, Try, and Try Again
Moving back to Georgia a little more than two years ago was really hard for me. REALLLLLLLLY hard. It was coming back to a familiar place, and living in our same, old home, but EVERYTHING was different. Or, as my husband would like to paraphrase Grey’s Anatomy here, it was the time when EVERYTHING changed. Ninety-eight percent of all the friends I made the last time I lived her were gone (or left within a few months of our arrival), and when we were here before, we didn’t have kids, so our priorities and lifestyle were different.
I tried, and tried, and tried to make friends when we first arrived. I’m no stranger to going to social outings and putting myself out there. If there was an event going on, I went. When my husband’s squadron had a function, I was there. I went to every play group and play date I could find, and it was frankly exhausting. I ran myself ragged trying to find friends, but not matter what or how hard I tried, I just never met my people. And oh, how I longed for people.
One of the groups I joined was our local MOPS group. MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers (but it’s really for moms who are pregnant all the way up until they have kids who are 5 years old), and I actually almost stopped going after the first semester. The table I sat at lacked warmth and people were always gone, and since I didn’t connect with anyone, I didn’t see the need to keep going. During the summer break from MOPS I got even lonelier, so I decided to give it one last shot, and this time I volunteered to help with their publicity.
A Turning Point
I truly feel like this was a game changer for me. Sure, I had been freelancing here and there, so I had deadlines to meet outside of feeding my family dinner every night, but as the publicity leader, I had a purpose in life. That sounds way more dramatic than it is, but it’s true at the same time. I had a whole group of women depending on me to make sure they get information on time. As the publicity leader, I also got to stretch my creativity and put my mind and skills to work. I can’t even tell you how good this was/is for my soul.
Then, since I was involved with MOPS, I started intentionally making new friends there. We’re all really busy, so it’s not like we hang out at each others’ home during the day, but I have people that I can call up at a moment’s notice and just talk or vent, or cry to. Motherhood can be so incredibly lonely, even when you’re surrounded by other moms every where you look. But somehow, these ladies saved me, and for the past several months I’ve found myself in that comfortable stage of life, and I’m happy I have people in my corner again.
And, Just When I Got a Little Bit Comfortable…
Which, 600 words later, leads me to the purpose of this post—we’re moving again, and it terrifies me, because just when I got a little bit comfortable, everything is about to change again. This isn’t the post where I tell you where we’re going (because I still don’t have any warm “official” fuzzies from the military yet), but it’s where I admit that it took me two really freaking long and hard years to get to this comfy spot in my social life, and now I have an impending move looming overhead.
On the bright side: I have around four more months to make the most out of my time here, and I’m taking advantage of it. I’m also trying to have an optimistic point of view for when we move, instead of recalling and dwelling on how hard it was the first two years we were here, and assuming it’ll be the same when we get there. I’m also thankful for a new job (Pampered Chef) that gets me out of my comfort zone a little bit and has already led me to making even more friends—and it gets me out of the house for girls’ nights several nights a month; I think having Pampered Chef under my wings when we move will help motivate me to find my people a little faster than it happened here.
The unknown is a scary thing, especially when you’ve already experienced a harder-than-usual transition. So my plan is to be intentional about remembering that I can, and eventually will make friends and find my place again. I also need to plaster this quote up everywhere I look when we move; I mean, it helped me more than a decade ago, so certainly it can help me again now!
Always force yourself into an uncomfortable place. Stay away from your comfort zone in order to develop a new one. Go with the flow.