Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A trip outside my comfort zone

There are some things in life that you just need to dive right in and do without thinking about it too much ahead of time. Taking off a Band-Aid, for example, or perhaps breaking up with someone (one motion, RIGHT OFF!!!).

For me, one of these things was going in to visit my old workplace here in Provo. It was my last real job, as far as 40 hours/week + benefits goes. I loved working there, and the people I got to know there were good friends who I missed very much when I left in June 2004 to move to Syria. Provo may be a fairly homogenous (white, Mormon) city, but since this place was a translation company, the staff were from all over the place, spoke all kinds of languages, and had varied and interesting backgrounds. I have a lot of good memories from working there.

But I was still nervous about dropping in for a visit. A lot has happened in the last five years. I've had two kids, they've moved to a bigger office across the street from the old one, etc. The biggest change for me was that since I'm now a SAHM, I don't get a lot of casual exposure to the "real world" on my own terms as a grown-up. To go back to my old work - where I once had my own (small) office, and two flat-screen computer monitors, and responsibilities that did not involve poop or vomit, and relationships with other adults based on something besides children - was, I admit, way outside of my comfort zone.

That's why I tried not to think about it too much ahead of time. If I did, I just knew I'd lose my courage. I took the girls to Macey's for a behind-the-scenes tour of the grocery store (so awesome, possibly deserving its own post, we'll see) and told myself that when it was done, maybe we'd stop by my old job. Then, when the time came, I just drove there without thinking about it and went inside with the girls before I could change my mind.

Part of my apprehension was because I was afraid nobody would remember me. I imagine this is a feeling some returned missionaries get when they go back to visit the mission field. When Jeremy and I went back to Siberia to visit his mission, I remember he was a little nervous about it. But of course people remembered him, and I was relieved that people at my old work remembered me, too. Or at least they did a great job of pretending to.

It was great to see everyone and show them my kids, and talk about what's been going on in the last five years since I worked there. I even got to see my "descendents," as one former co-worker put it - the people who have carried on the work that I used to do.

So I'm glad I went, even if it was a major step outside my comfort zone. It really did help that I didn't think about it too much ahead of time, though. Just like jumping into a cold pool, I knew it might be awkward or uncomfortable for a few moments but ultimately enjoyable.


Liz Johnson said...

I'm impressed. I have chickened out of those similar opportunities. I probably should just do it though, eh?

Laura said...

I would never of guessed that you have felt this way. I have always thought of you as a very out going person. So needless to say it makes me feel good that others feel the same way I would in the same situation.

Eevi said...

I can totally relate to this fear of people not remembering or recognizing you. Though it's vain and probably not very important in the end, it does sting a little bit when people don't remember you because it makes you question your impact and worth.

So if we meet years from now, i'll make sure to remember you(especially since you shared the love for Finnish chocolate with liquorice with me).

Jeremy Palmer said...

Who is Eevi?

Eevi said...

Nice Jeremy!

Britney said...

Your "do it before you think about it too much" rule is a good one for us introverts. I can't count how many times I've talked myself out of doing things of value. Good for you for just doing it!

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