10 Ways to Find Your New Comfort Zone



It was the worst of times when I lost my husband. My perfectly happy comfortable life melted away in a matter of minutes. I look back now and believe it was the worst time in my life....but not the worst year. Grieving and growing has brought challenges, surprises, discoveries and highlights that have created a new comfort zone; a new kind of happiness and a whole new me. 

                                       This is what I found:
  1. Weight loss is a good thing. My recent check up showed I've lost 12 pounds since last summer. My clothes are too big; but my aches and pains are gone, my lab results were excellent, I have more energy and my eating habits are green, clean and lean. If I use the hot cycle on the washer and dryer, I can shrink an outfit a bit and wear it once.  I took a few favorites to the alteration lady and discovered pants in the junior department fit best right now. Thanks to my sister, my nutritionist and online fitness blogs, I've leaned how to buy fresh farm-to-table-food and prepare healthy meals with little cooking!
  2. Strength is not just for men. I needed to do the heavy lifting, hauling, pushing and pulling now....so weight training took on a different meaning. I am so.much.stronger! I actually see a little definition in my arms.....but that underarm jiggle is there to stay at my age. Planks and bridges are great for your core....and fun to do with little ones. Having my weights on the living room floor and music always playing means I can do a few sets here and there all day long.
  3. I look at overall fitness differently too....no more Zumba and Pilates just for the fun of it.  I work my butt off to stay alive and well. Walking, swimming, spinning, yard work and floor play are all part of active aging. 
  4. Patience.  Be it spiritual, common sense, everyday hassles....I'm growing less anxious and more accepting. My husband constantly reminded me not to fret; not to sweat the small stuff. Even in girlfriend gatherings, someone would remind me not to fuss, worry or try to take care of all the details. When I accidentally switched my iPod to shuffle I had an "aha" moment.....it's okay to not know what's coming. Acceptance and patience are peaceful.
  5. Living in the now...living in the moments around you. What better place to learn this than on water with boats and geese and paddle boarders floating by and you're lost in serenity and aloneness. I listen to my breathing, laugh at the cat more and delight in walking to the end of parking lots to my car because I find coins. This week I found 47 cents! I find happy moments everywhere just looking and listening. I had to give it a go on purpose at first; now it happens naturally when I'm out and about. 
  6. Friendships new and old. I am lucky to have so many villages full of friends. It did take all of them to give me strength and support in the beginning.....but now I treasure each and every one who has stuck by me. The ones that knew I could do it....and who cheer me on as I evolve. Family, forever friends, neighbors, colleagues and my online pals......thank you.
  7. I'm still working on financial awareness, but it's getting better. I've become more frugal, stopped more services and taken advantage of lower rates by refinancing the house again. Remember I was spoiled and careless....now I'm cautious and annoying; "don't waste a french fry" I say to the grandkids. "Grandma can't afford it" I remind them when they want to hit the mall or a local restaurant. But they understand and hopefully learn from it. Someday I will take each one on that vacation of their choice we promised years ago.
  8. Writing opportunities are out there and I have great mentors. But I don't have the same discipline or the drive to strive for compensation. There was another writer in the house in my old comfort zone; perhaps I'm leaning toward a new avenue or passion. But you know I will always write. I'm still a work in progress here.
  9. Ask and you shall receive. I have become more comfortable asking for help and advice when I need it. Whether phone calls, store personnel, neighbors or needing a place to stay....I know I'll learn through others' thoughts and suggestions. Kindnesses that I'll pay forward; this too grows a better me.
  10. Self image and confidence. I never thought I'd manage without my cheerleader. I didn't think I'd move forward let alone on my own. But my soul inside is resilient and less vulnerable. Or maybe it's more vulnerable but in a good way. I know I'm looking and feeling good. I'm making good decisions and showing my children and grandchildren how to live life as it comes.  This makes me comfortable and happy with myself again. 









36 comments:

  1. This is an inspiration. Who knew the strength that can well inside?

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    1. Thank you Kathy and Olga. I appreciate you both taking time to read. As you know, Olga....it's not easy. Some days are still hard. Hope you are growing stronger and happier too, my friend.

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  2. This is beautiful.
    I am sorry for your loss and hope with time your good memories are more than the sad ones.
    You have inspired me this morning. I lost my Dad and my best friend within weeks of each other in February.
    I will share this with my Mom, she needs it:)

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    1. Thanks, Doreen. I'm sorry for your loss as well. I hope this and my previous posts on Becoming a Widow etc will help your Mom. These are mostly true.....but there are still hard days. The memories do go from hurting to healing. But now I deal with occasional guilt for finding happiness again. One day at a time for you and your Mom. Hugs to you both, my friend.

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  3. Joan, you made such a key point when you talked about realizing the difficulty you had - when you looked back on it. I have realized that coping with grief is not the same as understanding it, absorbing it, and moving on. Everything you've written shows a glimmer of optimism which seems to have come back spontaneously. I will have you in my thoughts today...you are moving from a very sad place to one of hope, in good, steady measured time. From here, I believe, you will only be more serene. Here's a hug ( )

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    1. What beautiful words, Susan. Another friend said something similar to yours "a glimmer of optimism seems to have come back spontaneously." She said I had an inner strength...and because of intense jarring....sent that strength to the surface. I understand you both.....I have always been optimistic....my husband called me Pollyanna Joan. I only know this positiveness allows me to breathe and move and look up. In that I've become stronger. Thank you for recognizing this in me and for your faith in me. I am grateful that you took time to read and send me these wise words, friend.

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  4. Inspirational and realistic and funny--these 10 are full of wisdom! 47 cents! That's awesome. It's all awesome!

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    1. Funny or pretty simple! It doesn't take much to amuse me, Carol! But a few lucky pennies does make me happy ....that is who I am. You are an awesome writer yourself, my friend! I appreciate you taking time to read and comment here...welcoming words always!

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  5. This is such a good article and kudos to you for "choosing" to make the right decisions for yourself as you continue to grow and develop your new life.

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    1. Thank you Susan. I am learning that my optimism and inner strength guide me in choosing; however right they are. I appreciate the vote of confidence here :)

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  6. First, of course, I'm so sorry for you loss. Second, this post spoke to me on several levels. We lost my dad three years ago and I know my mom has been working to find her way without him. For me, your message about diet, exercise, writing and more truly hit home. Finally, thank you so much for the kindness and support you have graciously extended to me!

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    1. My mom struggled too and hid her grief and withered away in the next few years. We couldn't help her. I want to show my kids and grandkids that life can on; that Grandpa would have wanted me to carry on the happy family vibe. I can do that while keeping his light shining. Thanks for taking time to write. I'm glad you're part of this grat network of wonderful women, my friend....and neighbor! :)

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  7. "I find happy moments everywhere just looking and listening." If only everyone could learn this. I'm so glad you are still writing; you never fail to inspire. You may have lost your "cheerleader," but your fans are still cheering and you are still in the game.

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    1. Oh Bob.....still being in the game means so much coming from you.....my favorite male reader/fan!
      Thanks for reading and having patience and faith in me! You always make me smile :)

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    1. Thanks Debra...and for your Facebook comment too. I appreciate you reading and enjoying, my friend!

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  9. I commented, but I don't think it published, so I hope you don't end up with two from me, lol! I really do look forward to your writing and sharing. I truly learn something every single time! Things I either need to see right now, for example today would be the healthier eating and lifestyle which has helped with your aches and pains, or things that help prepare me for the future that could be mine as well. I live a very dependent lifestyle, and know that I need to learn more and become stronger. I am a very optimistic person as well, and I appreciate your honesty when you say, there are still bad days. You are still in my prayers, and I look forward to reading much more!

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    1. It's so nice to hear from you, Cindy! I didn't want to lose weight this way......starting with grief...nor did I care to be more independent. I loved how Jim took care of me and everything else! So if anything here prompts women to think ahead, I am glad. Sounds like you're
      on it, girl! Keep having fun with your adorable grandkids and thanks for the prayers.

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  10. Your fitness successes especially resonate with me, as I've been a fitness pro for over 30 years and have seen how much energy, confidence and good health come from living an active, nutritious life. Kudos to you and I am sure the next 12 months will be even more exciting.

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    1. Being more active and healthy came from fear originally. I didnt realize the benefits other than being here for my grkids. But I am now pleased and believe being healthier and fit help with feeling happy and confident with myself. Thank you for the good wishes and having faith in my future, Alexandra!

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  11. Joan, I am so happy I took a few moments to read more of the WOM blogs tonight. Your message truly is one of hope and inspiration (and I mean that). I am so sorry for your loss, but so grateful for your words. I look forward to meeting you at BlogHer!

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    1. Thanks Kim. I appreciate you reading and commenting. I am not attending BlogHer but hopefully our paths will cross one of these days!

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  12. Lovely words, and such an inspiration!

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  13. It sounds like you have had quite a journey. I wish for continued healing for you in the year ahead.

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    1. Thanks Jenn and Sherri. I appreciate your kind words. I do wish I could push 'rewind' sometimes.....but I know 'play' is the only way to move foward.

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  14. Such a beautiful post. Your strength is very evident, and much more than just physical . I am so sorry for your loss.

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    1. Thank you for these kind words, Susan. It comes with time and support like yours.

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  15. You have come a long way and I know you will just keep on grabbing each day and enjoying it to it's fullest! You go Girl!

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    1. I hope so, Kc! Thanks for stopping by and for cheering me on!

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  16. Some people choose to wallow in their despair, I'm so glad that you chose to "live". You are teaching your kids and grandchildren so much. My father died when I was a teenager and for a long time it was like our mother had died also. It left my younger brother and I floundering because we lost all of our support system in one blinding second. It has a ripple effect that will be felt for years to come, your will be good ones. In the same token I can't imagine your pain my husband is everything to me and I am deeply sorry for your loss.

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    1. All that I've become is what I learned from him because he loved me. He somehow instilled in me the inner strength and need to carry on for our 2 kids and 5 grandkids. Thank you for this vote of confidence, Rena.

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  17. First, I'm so sorry that you lost your husband and cheerleader. Second, what an amazingly wonderful perspective you've got on living life to its fullest and finding contentment in yourself. Here's to living in the moments and to staying fit and healthy. Really beautiful!

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  18. I am so happy to place your name with your blog, Kristi! Now I know :) Thank you so much for reading me and for this beautiful message....you inspire my confidence even more. With hugs and appreciation, Joan

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  19. I admire your strength. I also can relate in a few different ways. Loss is always difficult but you have chosen not to live in that mode -- rather you chose to draw strength from the very situations that could have devastated you. A positive attitude and laughter can get you through most anything. You are an inspiration to many!

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    1. This means a lot coming from you, Carol. Thank you so much. My positive attitude, optimism and laughing all the time sometimes bugged people who wanted to complain or be cynical. Now I'm glad I'm this way, it serves me well. They can call me Polly all they want, right!?

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