What No One Tells You About Leaving Your Comfort Zone

Photo: Piotr Piatrouski / Shutterstock
woman standing in sunset

By Paola Angeline

With only 14 days remaining before I’m set to leave, I finalized the things I’d bring with me: the clothes I’ll wear, the shoes I’ll use, and everything else. 14 days turned to 13 and then to 12.

My mom reminded me of my luggage, and asked me time and again whether I didn’t leave out anything. “I got it! I got it, Mom,” I said to reassure her that I’m ready for this.

At first it was all excitement that I felt at the idea that I will have to study again overseas, but when the 12 days turned to 11, 10, and then to 9... I reminded my friends of the appointment I set with them.

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The whole day consisted of talking and laughing with each one of them over food and beer and everything else we could gather. I talked relentlessly, only realizing at the end of it all what I was really doing: I was grasping for memories, bit by bit.

I wanted to make sure that before we all part ways, my mind will be filled with moments with them without once thinking that that will make my departure harder than I thought it should be.

With my bags packed, I was sure I was more than ready to leave. I told myself a couple of hundred times before that this is all for the best, and I haven’t really changed my mind about that concept; it’s just that it’s finally dawning on me that, maybe, the process of getting to the part you’re leaving everything for isn’t at all going to be that easy.

What they don’t tell you, you see, is that it’s going to be so hard to leave the place you grew up in to search for a place somewhere else.

You can psych yourself all you want, but, I guess, once you open your eyes to the reality that this move also means that you will have to leave a lot behind, then, well, I won’t be surprised if you suddenly want to change your mind.

But it’s okay — that’s what I’ve been telling myself these past few days, anyway. I keep telling myself that we can’t really know what’s going to happen in the future if we’re not willing to move forward.

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I have to move, I have to will myself to not stay on my safe grounds, because that’s how it’s supposed to go.

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What they don’t tell you about this risk you’re going to take is that it won’t even come close to a walk in the park.

But, well, the only thing that can help you ease your mind is the hope glistening at the far end of this journey that it will be worth it.

Once the countdown becomes too close to one, and your excitement is slowly replaced by dread and emptiness you can’t seem to shrug off, I hope you find courage to go on with your plans in the thought that when all of this is over, you’ll be thanking yourself later for taking the step away from your comfort zone.

Sure, it’s sad when you see things in a way that you’re going to miss the people you’ll be leaving behind, but, maybe, it’s the notion that you’re lucky to have the kind of people who make it so hard to leave that makes this shift bittersweet.

Nine days, eight, seven, six, five, four days — I double-checked my bags, finalized the documents I needed to bring, and finally, finally, finally I prepared myself for the changes that this decision will inevitably bring.

My mom reminded me of my luggage again, and asked me for the Nth time whether I didn’t leave anything out.

With the greatest determination I can gather within me, I reassured her that, I got this. I got this, mom.

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Paola Angeline is a writer and former contributor to Unwritten. She has had bylines in Huffington Post, Elite Daily, and University Primetime. Visit her author profile for more.

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This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.