- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 01 April 2015
Make Simple Changes Now to Prepare You for the Next Stages
Time and time again as I have grown up, I have heard people say, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Like most things in life, it is much easier said than done. As the end of my academic life approaches, I find myself longing to make this last semester last as long as possible.
I am scared to leave the comfort of school five days a week, meaningless group projects, summers off, and the only routine I really know. It is important for me, as well as all young millennials, to remember that as life goes on it is imperative to constantly move away from our comfort zones.
Comfort zones are nice. They are safe places we have experienced so many times. We know them like the back of our hands. The problem with them is that they can make any other situation seem scary and daunting.
Great Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” Life is not a stagnant thing. You have a past self, you have the person you are now and you have the person you are going to become.
Think about it. No one really wanted to leave the comfort of their elementary school, but since leaving look at all the good that has happened. Same goes for high school, one of the hardest places to move away from, but look at how much greatness college has afforded you.
I even think back to my years here at Monmouth. If I had never gone out of my comfort zone and joined that new club, or packed my bags to move to a new country, my life would be the same as it was my freshman year. There would be no change. That would be so boring.
I see freshman who have found a comfortable spot and want to sit there and be safe, but you are never going to grow if that’s all you do.
It is important to constantly keep adding new elements to your life. Without change, life is repetitive and boring, and a boring life only leaves room for misery and depression. It is scary leaving what we know but we have to constantly tell ourselves, that this scary new situation coming towards us is going (to bring us new joy we did not once know existed.)
I am writing this not to tell anybody that having a safe haven is a bad thing, or that you should never feel comfortable in your life. Rather, I want to tell people (and to once again, remind myself) to always switch things up in life.
I cannot be scared to start my career, just like freshman should not be afraid to join a new club or organization later in their college career.
Branching out every day is the best way to learn to not fear the unknown. Go to a new restaurant, try a new food, watch a new TV show, or talk to someone new.
If you do one thing a day that scares you, you become more used to the anticipation before leaving your comfort zone. If you constantly leave your comfort zones in small ways each day, then the bigger changes will come more naturally.
Everybody is generally afraid of change. However, if you exit your comfort zone, you surely will recognize the fright before a change, but you will also know the joy this new change could bring to you life.
Take a minute to think about one thing you did outside your comfort zone. Joining greek life? Trying a new food that became your favorite? Going hiking for the first time? Taking a class out of your major?
Whatever it is think about how leaving what you’ve always known was a good thing for you. And realize that the bigger decisions you have to make will also eventually cause the same joy these small leaps of faith did.
If you never leave your comfort zone, you miss out on personal growth. Life truly is a journey. Realize that all of the times you choose to step out of your comfort zone, you are moving forward in life. You are gaining life experience. You are learning how to overcome challenges. You are becoming older, wiser. This piece of advice is especially important for young people to remember as we move through college and make our way into the dreaded “real world.”
But, new stages in life should not be dreaded: they are just new places to get comfortable in and eventually move on to the next one.
Life is not meant to be lived in one place, whether you take that literally or metaphorically, always be striving to find the new in life and you will never be unhappy you did.
PHOTOS COURTESY of Kyle O’Grady