I don’t want to say that I’ve led a sheltered life, because that’s not true, but I’ve never really pushed the boat out and tackled something that knocked me out of my comfort zone.
Since graduating, the last couple of years of my life have been what you might call typical. I’d wake up, catch the train to my 9pm-5pm job, hit the gym, then return home to cook food, before collapsing in to bed. Sounds a bit dull, right? I didn’t feel like I was living the dream. I wasn’t even sure what my ‘dream’ was. I felt like I was in a rut, but I was also comfortable with my routine. I felt like I needed to get away to really think about what I wanted in life, and how I wanted to live it. And then it hit me…
There was one place I had always wanted to check off my bucket list and the way I saw it, nothing was going to change in my life over the next few months. I had nothing to lose. I remembered that my friends from uni were currently living in China, so I thought I’d ask the question. Two months later, my flights were booked and I was on my way to the airport.
“Are you excited?” people asked me. But I wasn’t. It hadn’t hit me and all I could think was, why did I do this? I didn’t know whether I was happy about this change or not. All I had felt up to that point was anxiety and stress. No work for three months, which meant no income. I didn’t have an amazing social life due to the fact that I was constantly saving to go away, I didn’t feel particularly excited about having to squat poop in a hole for the next three months and on top of all this, I hated flying.
The hardest thing to do was say goodbye to my boyfriend. Although he was always away due to work, I felt almost as if I was leaving him behind. He was supporting me 100%, but I knew that feeling he had in his stomach far too well. He was scared for me and worried for us. It was usually me saying goodbye to him, but the tables had turned. I kissed him goodbye and felt lonely as I walked through to security. This trip still didn’t feel like a good idea.
As I boarded the plane, my heart was racing. I still wasn’t excited and I had such a long journey ahead of me… no turning back now. As I sat down, fastened my seatbelt and the plane lifted off the ground, I suddenly felt different. Something hit me – I did it. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and I was on my way to China. To China! I was travelling to the other side of the world to see things I never thought I’d see in my lifetime! Buddhist temples, traditional Chinese food, travelling around one of the biggest countries in the world… my head was pounding with excitement! All it had taken was for me to get on that plane.
Now, three weeks later, I can honestly say this was the best decision I ever made. I’ve seen things I never thought I’d see and done things I never imagined possible. For some people, it may not seem like such an achievement, but for me personally, I never saw myself moving away from my every day routine. I was stuck. At one point I thought, this is my life now, but today, as I speak to you from where I’m staying in Guangzhou, that is simply not that case.
I guess my point is that if there is something you really want to do, just do it. Many people aspire to do something great in their lives, but are held back by their fears and anxieties, whether it’s a job, but you’re scared to give a presentation, or a journey, but you’re scared of flying – the end result is, that if you take that leap outside of your comfort zone, you can always go after what you want.
Just from flying out here, I’ve acquired three things already; independence, adaptability and dare I say it, a sense of freedom – because I actually focused all my energy on doing something I really wanted to do. You gain a sense of accomplishment when you start to push the boundaries and it’s liberating.
Before you ask, I still haven’t figured out what I want to do in life, but I have decided that spending more time contemplating my fears rather than taking action means nothing will change. Don’t let your fears hold you back. Embrace them and experience the life you have.
Jenni out! x