Six years ago I was sat up one night terrified out of my mind about going to University.
It was the night before (or rather, the morning of) my departure, a one hundred mile journey east to a small sleepy business campus just north-west of London.
The night before I’d been out for one final farewell with friends in a nearby city (a rare occurrence, due to the lengthy distances between anything in the countryside, and our learned love of drinking at home).
I can picture myself laying in bed looking up at my moon and stars curtains wondering why things had to change.
It’s silly really. Everybody was in the same situation, not just my friends, but a large portion of eighteen year olds’ (and above) across the country would have been embarking on the exact same journey the following day, albeit in slightly different directions, criss-crossing each other on the motorway in cars filled to the brim with guitars, posters of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and pretension.
At this point in time, I was so very comfortable in my current situation, in my life. It’s all I’d ever known for eighteen years, and the prospect of changing it all around now was the most daunting thing I could have ever imagined.
On that note…
In two weeks I move to Spain (Granada, Andalusia to be exact).
And I’ve been having these exact same feelings.
I’m so very comfortable in my current situation. Unlike the night before I left for University, my current situation could go on indefinitely should I so wish. Six years ago I couldn’t re-enrol at my old high school, but right now—today—I could sure as hell get my old job back and tell my landlord I’ve decided to stay on after all (both my ex-boss and landlord are great guys).
Even if my old job and room were to become filled I could always apply for a carbon copy of each and gain back some level of normality within days.
I quit my job on New Years eve. In the build up I read a lot of material on the subject, much of which I will relay to you next week.
Something which resonated with me in particular was a post by Joel Runyon. In it he spoke of how, set aside from your long term plans and goals, eventually things settle down as they are, things begin to get easier, and you start to become comfortable where you are in life.
To a lot of people, comfort is the main goal of life. They work hard enough so they can live a “comfortable” life style. They want enough money to not have to worry about things. They spend time around friends that think the way they do so they don’t have to have anyone question the way they view the world (and make them uncomfortable).
Do not let comfort become the default state.
Over the past few years I’ve worked with a lot of people aged 17-21. In that group, the ones who have been (or are currently at) University are by far the most mature and open to new ideas.
I don’t believe it’s University that did this to them (the same is true of those who move out of their parents house, regardless of what they’re doing, at the same age), I just believe them getting up, making a change, and forcing themselves to become uncomfortable plays a primary role.
Often we like to describe a new situation by saying we were “Out of our comfort zone” as if this is a bad thing! As Joel put it:
The parts of life where you were extremely uncomfortable were the parts where you grew the most.
I’m not moving to Spain for the cheap living expenses, indescribable views of mountains and olive groves, tapas on tap, or even el bonito espanol chicas (though all of these are certainly healthy incentives).
I’m moving to Spain to increase my uncomfort zone, because I know, the parts of life where you were extremely uncomfortable were the parts where you grew the most.
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Posted January 27, 2012 — Subscribe to keep up to date with my latest posts.