Two weeks ago I got a dog. Her name is Connie, short for Concerned. Seriously, that was the name she was given in her former life as a racing greyhound. She’s pretty timid; she lives up (down?) to her name. I wish her original owner had named her Confident instead, just to give her more of a chance. But I completely understand how she feels about life. Two introverts together, I think we can help each other a lot.

It wasn’t the ideal time to get her: week two of a busy new job. I wanted to get her at Easter, but the dog adoption agency said they wouldn’t hold on to her, so she came early. She and I had never met, but I’d seen a picture and thought she was lovely. We bonded instantly. She’s been through a lot in the past few months and I caused more upheaval by taking her home to my place. She didn’t know that was coming. She’s been living outside her comfort zone for a while. That’s why she’s the perfect dog for me.

Two people said to me recently, entirely independently of each other, that they’re amazed at how often things change in my life. They obviously believed that I had sought to introduce major life changes one after the other. Of course I didn’t. I would have given anything to keep my life as it was three years ago, stable and comfortable like theirs. I didn’t know that at the end of 2013 I would be tipped out of my comfort zone and spend the next three years adapting to every new challenge because I had to, because there was no choice.

I recently saw an excellent cartoon that made me laugh and laugh. It depicts exactly the way I feel about the things I experienced over the past three years, except, unlike the character in the cartoon, I didn’t get back to my comfort zone at the end of each challenge. Here’s the cartoon: Maybe you can relate. If you’re an introvert too, you’ll probably laugh.

You can do it, you can live outside your comfort zone for a long time, reacting and moving and changing because you have no control over the circumstances, but it’s tiring. I must admit my nerves are pretty frazzled. Connie would like it if I stayed home all day with her, sitting in the sun in the garden or snuggling on the couch. I would like that too. That’s the next challenge: working out how to live the fulfilling, creative, connected life I’ve longed for—and being able to pay for it. Now that I’ve found my comfort zone again, I want to be able to spend time in it.

And that’s why Connie is the perfect dog for me. She’s going through major change  again. She’s anxious and afraid and she would really like it if none of that were happening. But she keeps going. She adapts and trusts and, most of all, she maintains the capacity to love. One day soon, she’s going to find her comfort zone again. I’ll be there too, waiting patiently, so happy to be home.