Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Leaving Your Comfort Zone is Uncomfortable

There is a lizard loose in my apartment.

I left a fulfilling job, a comfy house and even my beloved puppy to come here to Panama.

Now I have a job that is really, really hard. I live in a small apartment with no dog. There is a small lizard that somehow got in through my bedroom window, and then scampered off to who-knows-where before I could take him back outside.

Back home I did have the occasional wild intruder. Mostly gigantic spiders nearly my hand-span in width. They were incredibly fast, and incredibly scary. One time a guy came to my door and told me they were hobo spiders. He then offered to exterminate them for a few hundred dollars, but I declined since my shoe worked just as good as any poison.

On the balance sheet of life, I suppose trading lizards for spiders is a plus. Trading a lizard for my puppy is a minus. Sometimes I play this accounting game to see if I came out a head or behind on my move to Panama. It's too early to tell.

I do know I left a very comfortable situation. 

I had life figured out where I was. 

Now I do not. 

That's part of the reason I wanted to move, to get out of my comfort zone and into the challenge zone where I'd be forced to learn, grow and adapt. That sounds awesome. And probably will be. But I forget that "leaving your comfort zone" also means "becoming uncomfortable."

So that is where I find myself at this moment. Work is hard. Very hard. I feel uncertainties as an educator that I haven't felt since I first started. 

Living in Panama is hard. It's much more than the driving I wrote about yesterday. My girlfriend and I are isolated from all the friends, family and community that give us a sense of identity. We left a small town where I could walk to the Saturday Market and have most people know the name of me and my dog. Panama City is a giant Latin metropolis where I'll never see the same person twice.

I do feel growth. And each day is usually better than the last. But I don't want this to be some motivational post about how "it was all worth it." There are a million of those.

I think it will be all worth it. I think I'll be very happy here. I sure hope it all works out. But maybe it just needs to be acknowledged that change is hard. If you really want to get out of your comfort zone, you'll be uncomfortable.

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