A year ago today I moved away from the home I had lived in for 18 years, where my son grew up, where my first marriage ended and in time a new one began, where I lost my sense of self and eventually found a new direction. I moved away from the area and county I had lived in since the age of three, away from my parents, my friends and my career. I was leaving my comfort zone.
It was crazy!
Looking at it like that it feels like a crazy thing to do. What was I thinking of? My parents were not getting any younger and I was the only family close by. I was halfway through a good career. Instead of enjoying the benefits of a pretty secure future, I was about to start something completely new from scratch, away from the network of friends and colleagues I could call on for help and support. I was giving up a good salary having been financially independent from the age of eighteen, and relying on my husband to take on the full financial burden.
I was moving to an area I had visited for the occasional day or so, not somewhere where I knew in depth. My full-time working life in a suburban village, was changing to being at home alone (save for our cat and dog) in a small village in the middle of Somerset.
I was giving up everything I knew. I was about to free-fall out of my comfort zone with no clue as to whether anything would catch me before I hit rock-bottom.
I needed to make this work.
I knew in order to make this work I had to be open to everything. I had to go out there and make this move work, no one would, or could, do it for me. This is no small thought for an introvert. And so over the past year I have experienced a number of firsts.
- The first time I’ve had to cook on an Aga.
- The first time I’ve gone to a cookery class to learn how to cook on an Aga.
- The first time I’ve had to order oil for the central heating.
- The first time I’ve gone to village church coffee mornings.
- The first time I’ve hosted a village church coffee morning.
- The first time my nearest “cinema” is watching a DVD on the big screen at the local village hall.
- The first time I’ve needed a hi-vi and torch to walk the dog or go to the pub in the evening, because we have no street lights and few pavements.
- The first time I’ve had to structure my own day in order to get anything done, and not rely on the deadlines of a structured planning role.
- The first time I’ve learnt how to get a fire going in a woodburner.
- The first time I’ve noticed how curious cows are when you pass by.
- The first time I’ve realised cows can either tell the time or have great hearing, and so know when the farmer is bringing the feed.
- The first time I’ve had to adjust my dog walk routes because cows have arrived in one of the fields I normally traverse.
- The first time I’ve witnessed chickens crossing the road.
- The first time I’ve seen the sunrise behind Glastonbury Tor.
- The first time I’ve seen the amazing Glastonbury Carnival.
- The first time I’ve lived close enough to the beach to run on it in the morning, or eat fish and chips on it in the evening.
- The first time I’ve been able to hear nothing but birdsong in my garden.
- The first time I’ve seen as much sky or as many rainbows.
- The first time I haven’t needed a holiday in order to stop myself from screaming “ENOUGH!!!”.
- The first time I’ve built a website.
- The first time I’ve created a Facebook business page.
- The first time I’ve facilitated a coaching course.
- The first time I’ve used Instagram.
- The first time I’ve gone to as many different networking meetings in as many different places as could find.
- The first time I’ve written and given a speech as a networking meeting.
- The first time I’ve done a video post on Facebook.
- The first time I’ve joined challenges that challenge me out of my comfort zone.
- The first time I’ve sat and wept at the kitchen table in frustration truly believing in my work, yet being faced with the prospect of going back to my previous career in order to get some money coming in.
- The first time I’ve known without doubt that I had to find a way to keep going.
- The first time I’ve volunteered.
- The first time I’ve been faced with the reality of how many people are affected by death by suicide.
- The first time I’ve pushed myself to build a network of support and admit that I can’t do this alone.
Life is not found in your comfort zone.
If I hadn’t taken that chance, if I’d have taken the safe option and stayed in my comfort zone, I would have carried on existing, but I know I wouldn’t have felt like I was really living.
Life is found on the other side of fear, it needs you to believe in what’s possible rather than what’s not.
Life is waiting to catch you. You just have to let go and trust that it will.