Friday, April 3, 2015

Put It In Your Pocket

Day 3. The letter C. Which brings me to what I think is key to managing change. My key anyway.

C is for Compartmentalize

I excel at compartmentalizing. It makes my hubs a little bit crazy, because whenever we have a lot of big stuff happening he wants to talk about all of it, all at once, all the time.

I can't. One big thing at a time please, otherwise I become ridiculous. 

You may recall back in early fall I was knee deep in wedding planning. Wedding planning for a daughter living in one state while I was in another, the groom in yet another, and the wedding venue in still another. I know! It was lovely though.

In case you'd forgotten.

Anyway, as I was plugging along, maintaining my binder and my checklist and my emotional stability, trying to stay three steps ahead of the avalanche that is all things wedding, hubs felt we needed to discuss... among other things-

his retirement-as in should we or shouldn't we
managing retirement money
selling our house
buying a house
buying a lot
building a house
buying a fixer upper and renovating
 would we move the piano if and when we move house if and when he retires
drawer pulls and light fixtures for that house we might maybe possibly build somewhere sometime
the pros and cons of putting down roots in various states across the southland 
the quality of air on Jupiter

Okay, that last bit I made up, but he might as well have asked me about the quality of air on Jupiter, because I was planning a wedding which required me to plug my ears and brain to all the rest. Call it compartmentalizing or maintaining one's sanity or preventing the crazy, whatever... it's how I roll.

I can multi-task with the best of them when it comes to the everyday bits and pieces of home life, but when we start talking about great! big! huge!, life-changing decisions I require a clear head, a clean house (it helps!) and an organized thought process. In the middle of planning a wedding I had none of those things. When enormous change looms I need focus and lists and most of all I need time. 

Time to digest the big ideas.

Time to break the big ideas into smaller more manageable chunks.

Time to pray.

Time to think about how a new 'thing' will feel in the day to day running of a life.

I need to let it all settle on my brain and work out some of the obvious kinks before I'm ready to leap. Operating this way allows me to lay my head on the pillow at night and fall blissfully to sleep. Hubs asks how can I sleep when there's so much going on?!? 

Well, in my mind there's not so much going on. There's one big thing going on, and some other big things tucked into my pocket to be pulled out and examined later, after I have a really good handle on the current big thing. The thing that must be dealt with in the immediate.

There's a verse in the Bible that says, 'Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it's own.' (Matthew 6:34).

At first glance that sounds a little depressing, but I actually find the verse very freeing. It doesn't say ignore the important, or don't ever think about tomorrow. It says don't worry. 

I know in life there may be times where circumstances collide, and it feels like lots of big changes roll at us all at once in the form of a giant snowball. In those times we sometimes do have to react more than we think and act, but that's not the norm.

When I look back at the big changes we've experienced, and at the current big changes we're navigating now, I can honestly say I saw them coming, felt change approaching. As it approaches I have some time to process and pray and park myself on whatever's next before I actually have to do anything about it. 

The front end of change is often fraught with what ifs and maybes. It's easy to hop on that path and become stressed out, confused, and anxious.  In reality, none of us knows what tomorrow may hold, but we do know Who holds it. We can tuck tomorrow in our pocket and deal with the pressing needs of our current season because He's got tomorrow covered.

I compartmentalize not to avoid change, but rather as a means of helping me get on board with whatever new direction life is heading. It's not something that has always come naturally to me. Worry is what comes naturally to me, but I've had a lot of practice in dealing with change in my adult life, and when you practice something you get pretty good at it.

Not perfect, but good enough to keep the crazy at bay when your daughter gets married, your husband retires, and you put your house on the market in a three month block of time. 


  1. So enjoyed reading this, Joyce at 3:04 AM, as I lie here in the dark, wide awake. Not because of overload or stress, or change, just can't sleep. I think men and women deal differently with things. Where our brains are masses of wire capable of thinking about and logically sorting it all out, most men must deal with one large thing at a time. Retirement and all that encompasses is one box in his brain that must be dealt with now before he can move on to another box. Air quality on Jupiter, for instance. Happy EASTER, to you and your family, Joyce.

  2. Hi Joyce, I'm visiting during the A-Z challenge. It sounds like we're in similar stages of our life. We're wondering about early retirement, where and when to move, etc. It's all a little much whether we are compartmentalizing or not. Let me know when you figure it out. Then maybe I'll just do the same thing you're doing. :)

  3. I so agree that worry is just wasted energy. It solves nothing and changes nothing (except the puffy dark circles under your eyes, perhaps!). I enjoyed your "C" post, Joyce!

    Happy Easter!! Praise God!

  4. Joyce, I guarantee you will make it through all your challenges in working through retirement, and will probably come out with lots of fun new adventures. I'm like you, always organizing and compartmentalizing to accomplish what needs to be done. Unfortunately, no one gives you more time! Have a blessed weekend.

  5. What a great encouragement this post is to me, especially as I have been feeling change coming. It gives me a hard to describe unsettled feeling but I am reminded of God's goodness to us and that He can be trusted.

  6. That was really interesting - thanks for sharing! My post today is C for Cider With Rosie.... and Cats... ( I'm number 590 on the list) and so far enjoying the fun!

  7. Ah! Perhaps I need to get better at compartmentalizing, because this month I am more than a little overwhelmed. Lovely post. And it looks like it was a truly lovely wedding. :-)

  8. I love this post and again, what a beautiful wedding! Change IS hard, but God will carry that burden for us if we just stay in faith. Great blog dear...

  9. I know.... Wedding planning and hub says to me - you need to think about retiring as a matter of fact I have called and you can go to the next retirement meeting. I don't have time to think about that right now!

  10. I am like you give me one big thing at a time and when I have a handle on it then I will start with another. Little things...a piece of cake! lol Enjoying your post. I imagine things have been crazy...but God is Good all the time!

  11. I compartmentalize whenever possible. It's the only way to stay sane, in my opinion. Love that wedding shot too!

  12. Thanks for your comments on my C today. You're not going to want to read this one, the author is a psychiatrist who works in the hospital setting so there is a realistic feel to the book. D is a nice one and E should be too but you'll not want to come over for F or H ;-) G continues the series from A.

    Beautiful wedding!

    Gina, I'm #1372 today

  13. I definitely deal with change much, much better than my Hubby. I just adjust and go forth. He frets and stews and eventually goes forth. He is still wrapping his head around the fact that we are leaving this house of almost 34 years and I've been ready to leave it for 20 years and am so excited I can hardly stand it. Ah, the different way we all deal with change. Another great post! Easter blessings!

  14. Joyce, I admire you even more after reading yesterday's and today's posts! You've done a great job of dealing with lots of changes over the years :) I almost passed out when I read how quickly y'all had to get ready to move 'across the pond'!!!
    As Ed and I continue to navigate this unfamiliar territory of 'retirement', I'm going to try to remember this post, and try some of your compartmentalizing tricks. Thanks for the tips!
    Kathy (from Reflections by Kathy)