I sat down with a friend last week to have a hot drink with her while we had a language exchange. As I practised my Spanish a question came up? “Do you find that people back home still haven’t moved forward much? They’re still arguing and complaining about the same things from years back while I’ve moved forward and way beyond that” she asked with a questioning look on her face. As I was thinking about the answer, my friend felt like she needed to explain her question and felt that it was an odd question to ask. Over the time I’ve been travelling a lot of people have thrown this question my way using different words. They’ve told me what they went through or are going through with their families. Some people talked about past experiences that they’ve overcome.
People who never had to leave their country will never know and if you have left your country to live abroad for a short space of time then it’s easily forgotten. While back home people slide into their old shoes and patterns all the time. They’re surrounded by the same people most of the time and they are used to living in their comfort zone. The older they get the more fearful they become, the fewer risks they take, not willing to part from certain habits or ways, feel it’s too late, lack confidence, lack self-belief, self-sabotage, live by comparison and countless number for self-limiting beliefs.
Living your life out of the box will create lots of concern when it comes to those close to you. You will always be seen as crazy to do something different from most. You can’t blame them if you continued living that way you too would find it hard to get out of the comfort zone, in fact, the more you’re in your comfort zone the more traps (physical and mental) you make for yourself. No comfort zone guarantees safety and freedom all the way to the deathbed, yet most still live this way.
The life of a traveller is way out of the comfort zone. It allows them to be grateful for having a roof over their head, the bed they sleep in, the warm blankets they have, they think about eating their mum’s or dad’s cooking, playing with the dog they miss, the cupboard instead of living out of a bag, the hot shower, dressing up for a change instead of walking in flip-flops or trainers or getting to the hotel or hostel finally after a rainy day while their umbrella was stuck right at the bottom of the backpack. In the last three years I have taken at least one holiday a year to live out of my comfort zone that when I return home, I have more gratitude.
I believe this question has something to do with both i.e. the price one pays for freedom and living out of the comfort zone “Do you find that people back home still haven’t moved forward much? They’re still arguing and complaining about the same things from years back while I’ve moved forward and way beyond that?”
The truth is a lot of families and people who haven’t lived outside the comfort zone long enough are like this. You just have to continue on the path that’s true to you. They don’t know what’s it like to live the dreams you’ve dreamt of and lived, they don’t know what’s it like to move house depending on where the job is based, they don’t know what it’s like when you don’t have an immediate support circle to go to physically, they don’t know the times people have tried to take advantage of you because you were vulnerable, they don’t know the times when you’ve been laid off from work during a financial crisis with the last bit of your savings coming to an end after working hard for years saving, they don’t know what it’s like to only depend on yourself, they don’t know what is a life of a foreigner, they don’t know how many times you’ve been stripped of your dignity, they don’t know what it’s like to learn a new language in a country that doesn’t speak your mother tongue and to not be able to defend yourself with words when someone wrongs you, they don’t know what it’s like to get up sick alone and still go to the shop dizzy to get medicine, they don’t know what it’s like to find the energy to go to the shop even though you are feeling terrible, then to take the medicine, change again, go straight into bed, then to get up and cook something to eat or even heat up your food, they don’t know what it’s like to be told by the doctor that you can’t drive for a few days with the medication you’ve been given, they don’t know what it’s like to pull yourself out of bed if you’re having one bad day or are feeling down that day, and they don’t know what it’s like if you sprain your ankle. The truth is they would start just where you started if they have to handle most things on their own. I mean this is just the tip of the iceberg when you live life out of the comfort zone.
People have no idea of the price one pays for the freedom or what it took to get to where you are today. There are positives and negatives to living life in the comfort zone and to living life out of the comfort zone. There are sacrifices one makes for a life
Wanting freedom and a life out of the comfort zone isn’t a smooth road and striving towards the life you desire for yourself knowing that the path isn’t going to be easy has its price while people living in the comfort zone feel like they are stuck in the mud. They feel like prisoners to the life they want as they look over the fence watching others getting halfway there while they procrastinate.
Cut the things you consistently argue and complain about loose by going out of the comfort zone so that the next time there’s an argument you can feel grateful and genuinely argue about what really matters.
T. Dench Patel