Change is Scary

“It's a funny thing... but people mostly have it backward. They think they live by what they want. But really, what guides them is what they're afraid of. What they don't want.”

I remember when I went to Nepal a few years ago. It happened really quickly. I applied for a placement in January and was in Kathmandu by March. I didn’t really have much time to process the significance of my going away to a village on the foothills of the Himalayas for three months. We landed in the main airport of the city and went to the guesthouse, where we would be for a couple of weeks, for a debrief and some acculturation. We still had WiFi at this point. I walked into my room and sat on the edge of the bed, exhausted and jet lagged from the long flight from London. That’s when I saw the dead fly lying on the covers. I didn’t move or squirm or anything, I just turned away, facing the window and said aloud ‘what the hell have I got myself into?’.

I ended up having the most magical and enjoyable three months in Nepal with no WiFi, barely any phone signal, and my favorite, the outside showers with 360 degree views of the hillsides; where a wedding party went through in the middle of my weekly shampooing. The endless dhal bhat, cheap smokes and the kindest people I’ve come across in my young life. I also made one of the closest friends I still have today who lives in Australia now.

I write this from my comfort zone in Exeter, Devon. About to begin another life changing journey. Or should I call it ‘life affirming’. And this will only make sense if you live in this city but how much will I miss living opposite Waitrose! Five minutes away from the gym and a short walk to the river and center of town?!

Change is scary, especially after the year I’ve had. I’ve gone through the recovery of my first manic episode here and have created a well-oiled well-being regime. The yoga, sunset walks, fresh air and vegan food have become such a big part of my life here, and I will miss the simplicity of living in a small and self- contained city (more like village). A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there (John Assaraf). It is a wonderful place for healing and rest but it is time to get my feet moving again.

I am not apprehensive about packing four years in a rucksack and moving to Kenya for my fieldwork- alongside the travelling I will be doing for the rest of my year. I am terrified. I have no hesitation that this is necessary for me to grow into the woman that I want to be - but this doesn’t make the prospect of going minimalist, and changing my entire life, easier. I have a career mentor who has been with me for 8 months now. She reminds me that a woman like me will constantly need to push the boundary of what I call my comfort zone.

I had the pleasure of reading one of my favorite books in the hills of Nepal and I am taking it with me on this leg of the journey-

And the Mountains Echoed- Khaled Hosseini

“It's a funny thing... but people mostly have it backward. They think they live by what they want. But really, what guides them is what they're afraid of. What they don't want.”

Comfort zones are necessary for periods of our life- consistently pushing your boundaries will wear you out and knowing our limits is important. But we shouldn’t let fear hold us back from attempting to change our routine. Fear should drive you to directions you never thought you would take. You can’t sit and wait for things to happen. You have to actively work to receive the gifts and achieve the rewards you want from life.

So change…Come at me!

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