Being here on my own certainly gives me the opportunity to be alone with my thoughts as they say. In many ways I think it’s forcing me to come to terms with some of the inherent character flaws that I’ve up to this point accepted as permanent personality traits. It’s become infinitely clearer to me during this past month that I have terrible difficulty with self-motivation. Yes, I’ll acknowledge it took a considerable amount of self-motivation to end up here in the first place. But it was facilitated through a whole lot of coaxing and crying and compromise, none of which came easily. So yes, I’ll gladly take this one as a victory. But the problem for me lies primarily in my day to day life. Sometimes it feels like I am quite literally stuck to the couch, drawn by the magnetic force of a TV show or movie. And it’s not limited to a rainy day or there being nothing of interest to do. Here I am in the city of my dreams, at times having to physically drag myself out the door to discover things I’ve never seen, things I’ve only dreamed of having the good fortune to explore. It’s a blemish on the face of my rosy-cheeked desire for adventure, but I’m hoping it’s something that can be helped.
I believe that a lot of what holds us back in life is generally derivative of fear. In this case, why go outside and face the scary world when I can just stay inside and face nothing at all? More so than ever, I’m living the majority of my time outside the bolded lines of my comfort zone. At some point I crossed the line from daring myself to take a few chances to just habitually doing so, so I’ll give myself credit for that. It’s become second nature to talk to strangers on the street or accept dinner invitations from people I’ve only just met. But I have to let you in on a secret, and it’s an incredible revelation – it’s never half as uncomfortable or scary as I expect it to be. And I do expect it to be terrifyingly awkward. Every single time. What I’ve discovered is that it’s actually really refreshing and exhilarating and validating. There’s a truly satisfying rush that comes along with being your genuine self while successfully making six hours worth of conversation with a complete stranger over a shared plate of cured meat. Suffice it to say that when I’m living within these moments, I’m enjoying myself. And I don’t feel fake or odd or uncomfortable.
For me, it begs the question – is this a telling sign about my wants and needs in life? Leaving the safety of my “bubble” for all intents and purposes was up until now not a common practice in my life, but it’s coming quite naturally. The process of living just outside the confines of my comfort zone has been for the most part thoroughly enjoyable, and has energized me in a way I never knew it could. It’s probably too early to tell what this all means for me in the long run, but I’m learning things about myself that I didn’t know, maybe because I was never put in scenarios that necessitate it over and over again. It’s a good feeling to know that in a sink or swim situation, I’m decidedly at the very least floating on my own. I truly believe that we all misjudge or undersell ourselves in various ways every day in our lives. It’s amazing to find out what we’re capable of if we just try.
With that in mind, it’s also been mind-boggling to me that I can have so much in common with people from places in the world I’ve never even heard of, people that are older than me or younger than me, people that I encounter by chance or that inadvertently find me. These are people that inspire me and make me laugh and dare me to take chances. It’s an incredible phenomenon that two people can just pass through a moment in each other’s lives without pretense or expectation. Perhaps I’m meeting like-minded people because they’ve come here for many of the same reasons that I have. Perhaps I’m unknowingly seeking out people along my same wavelength. But the peculiar thing is, most of these people I’ve encountered by complete chance, or have deliberately reached out to me. Is it coincidence that I’ve had such positive, reinforcing experiences with these strangers? Or is in indicative of just how small this world really is?
Exciting stuff happening here, and only more to come. For now I vow to keep pushing myself to embrace the uncomfortable and make new friends and good conversation wherever I may go.