I've been stepping out of my comfort zone lately.
All of the experts say that it's good for you -- growth and personal development and such -- and I don't disagree, but you know what else? It's exhausting.
The transition back to school, for example, has been a rocky one.
Have I ever mentioned that my daughters attend a French language school? They do. The husband's mother tongue is French and we decided early on that French would be a major part of their education. It sounded awfully romantic when the children were babies. I imagined a seamless transition from one language to the other and back again. Now that we're there, educating our daughters mainly in French while living in an English-speaking province, it is more of a challenge than I expected.
I am not fluent in French, although I am getting closer every year. And yet, every time I walk into my daughters' school, I leave my comfort zone at the threshold. I struggle to understand teachers and school staff (because I think it's important to work at communicating in French and they very kindly oblige me) and I struggle to carry on meaningful conversations with teachers and other parents. Switching to English feels like giving up and I hate that feeling.
This year, on top of the usual challenges of managing two languages, tackling new math problems and sorting out the homework assignments, my oldest daughter has encountered some interpersonal challenges. There were moments last month when I was sure my heart was breaking. Or at least I thought so at the time because it involved -- you guessed it -- stepping outside of our comfort zones.
My go-to mechanism for handling conflict is denial. Very mature, I know. This is a practice I am not keen to pass along to my children, so we are instead working on facing challenges head on. Head on. So far this school year, that has meant making awkward telephone calls and working with the school to find careful resolutions. Every effort has been met with amazingly understanding and productive responses, and all is well and good, so why such angst, Christie? Get a grip.
And then there's the work I'm doing behind the scenes to turn this place into more of a going concern. Flailing around in the dark is how it feels, even with how-to books and articles and feedback from trusted sources. Much hand-wringing, all of it self-initiated and likely unnecessary, but the wringing of hands continues nonetheless.
All of which is to say that working on this week's journal page was a welcome relief, a happy return to work that feels natural and uncomplicated. I hope you'll agree, dear friends.
Happy Thursday, friends!