Change is a funny thing. From my experience, change and fear go hand in hand. Fear means you’re on the verge of change, and real change can’t happen without a little bit of fear.
I’ve lived in Italy for almost two years now, and it has honestly been the best decision I’ve ever made (other than breaking up with that toxic ex, and avoiding gas station sushi). I have grown tremendously as a global citizen, a woman, and as a human being, having seen a difference in myself with my world views, my acceptance of people, and even in my self-talk. I have tried new things, met so many interesting new people from numerous different cultures and backgrounds, seen things older than I can even comprehend, beheld beauty in different forms, and expanded my own mind in ways I did’t expect. Change is a beautiful thing, and the more fear you have on the verge of a big change, the higher reward of that change. Now that I’m comfortable in my life here in Florence with a job, a home, friends, and regular places I like to hang out, I was happy to have a little bit of calm as everything finally started to settle. After all, the first year in any new place is the hardest. But even though my brain was telling me that this comfort was a good thing and everything I finally had was what I had been working so hard for since I arrived, I started feeling a slight sense panic. Not because I felt a change coming, but because I realised that I actually felt comfortable. Weird, right? Any normal person would enjoy riding the tide out and relax for awhile to take a breather, but alas, I am me. I’m never too comfortable–I don’t allow it. I have found that with all the big life upsets and new paths I’ve taken, I have found comfort in the thought of the unknown. This is my idea of success, as someone who loves to travel, since I enjoy throwing myself out of said comfort zone. This time, however, I had allowed myself to cling to what I had. The security of a contracted job in Italy (not easy to come by in this economy), a group of friends, a relationship, solid roommates, knowing the city well and how to get around, getting to know my neighbourhood, and even with speaking Italian a little better than I had last year. All those things had all lulled me into this cozy life that I have. I was actually scared thinking about shaking things up a bit, to do something different, to look for a new job, to end my relationship that started feeling stagnant. Now, after everything I had gone through, I wanted to stay in that cozy comfort zone I had in a once foreign place. But, as the story would go (you guys know me so well), I knew that I could not grow without a change. I’m ready to change jobs since I am no longer learning or growing in my current position. I’m actually looking into starting my own business to live the life I’ve always dreamed of (even more so than the amazing life I’m living now), and, as amazing as he is, I am ready to try things on my own in Italy without the crutch of my Italian boyfriend. I’m ready to take a leap of faith, because somehow I know that no matter what, I will be the one there to catch myself if I fall, and that is a liberating feeling.
That’s the thing about comfort zones– they’re warm and cozy, but nothing new grows there. And I am all about growth. So, I find myself in the place I’m in now. I feel the fear, I see the possibilities of the other side of the veil (outside of my zone), and I know it will be good for me. Pushing through that veil, however, is a process; kind of like astronauts preparing to launch into space–it’s scary, takes a lot of planning, channeling energy and resources, mental preparation, and 100% focus. Once you do take off, however, there’s no turning back and it’s better to accept your decision and enjoy the ride. Here’s to my process. The change is coming and I am ready.