Keep doing the same things and they’ll become stale. Boredom becomes synonymous to the monotonous activities you keep engaging in. Keep staying the same and you’ll become stale. You’ll be stuck in the same spot while the world hurtles forward. Keep doing the same exercises and your body gets used to it. Your muscles remember and the exercises lose their effect. Dieters and athletes hate plateaus. Relationships fizzle and fade when the people in them never change and the elements of the relationship never change. Keep staying in the same environment and the lively walls will soon become grey, heavy and suffocating. Businesses wane when they don’t change in the right ways. A fencing coach once taught me: “Insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.” The key to not being stuck in the same rut year in and out is to seek challenges. Miss the opportunities you can afford to miss, but never pass up on those that have the potential to change your life in all the right ways. How will you know if they’ll have such a potential? Take the risk and make sacrifices where necessary (and not harmful). Take the plunge. Take that leap of faith. Because you need fresh air. You need a different horizon to look out into.
I didn’t grow up appreciating change. Short of abhorring it, I never welcomed it and avoided situations where I had to step out of my comfort zone. But somewhere during my teenage-hood I started taking tentative steps out of that shell that fit so snugly like a second skin. I knew I was inherently introverted and disliked many situations that others so willingly embrace, but I still went ahead with them anyway. I may have disliked all those situations but the more I wasn’t comfortable with it, the more I made myself go through them in order to be more comfortable with them. I knew I couldn’t remain the same forever.
Today I’m proud to realize how far I’ve come from all those times where I tentatively toed the lines that marked the edges of my comfort zones. I know I still have a long way to go. But I know that something has changed drastically—I constantly crave change—changes in environment and life experiences. This doesn’t mean that I shed old clothing every now and then and leave people and experiences behind while I seek change. I hold the people and experiences that have made me who I am insanely close to my heart. I defend our special bonds with ferocity.
I can’t be more grateful at how this group of people have always supported me and tried to understand even though it was difficult to and they often failed at actually understanding—why I had to do why I did and why I wanted to do what I wanted to do. It’s immensely liberating to realize how comfortable I’ve become in my own shell, except that this shell is worlds apart from the shell that I lived in in my younger years. I’ve made peace with this current shell of mine. I’ve learnt to enjoy the moments when I can retreat into it, and I recognize that abandoning that shell is necessary in appropriate situations. I don’t see this as being “fake” or “two-faced,” but rather recognizing that there’s a time and place for everything. I know who I am and what I’m like, so rather than ridiculing myself when facets of that shell rear their heads in situations that don’t call for it, I accept. There are things that you can change and things that you can’t change. And I’ve learnt to want to change the things that I can and leave the things I can’t change alone.
There’s something so incredibly exciting about the unknown. The Unknown calls for fear, anxiousness, stress, excitement, moments of calm, pain, sacrifices and most importantly, it calls for learning. Of course, the risk that the Unknown brings must not be harming or life-threatening. Once you’ve established within reasonable means that the risk is worth taking, you take that leap of faith. There will be falls; there will be grazes, cuts and bruises. There will be pain. But what you get at the end of it—will be life changing. And you’ll never look back to regret the decisions you’ve made.