Change is scary. It disrupts our everyday life.
Shifting from one place to another is always a little scary. You might be moving to a new city or neighbourhood or building; irrespective the shift is almost always uncomfortable.
When we settle down in one place, it’s rather comforting to stay there. You know the area well. You know your neighbours. You know where the nearest ATM is or which shop stocks your favourite ingredients. You may even have a specific path or lane that you regularly walk or jog in. It’s all familiar. The familiarity gives you a sense of comfort and even safety.
The day we decide to move to a new place, there will be a tectonic shift in our lives. Our routines will change and we’ll find ourselves in unchartered territory. There’s no safety net to protect us.
The place is new, the people are strange, the locality is unfamiliar and you stick out like a sore thumb. In such circumstances, it is almost too easy to say, ‘Hey! Let’s just stay exactly where we are. It’s familiar.’
Familiarity, while comforting is limiting.
The more comfortable you feel in a particular space, the more unwilling you are to try something new.
While I was in Mumbai, I used to stay in an area known as Sion Koliwada. It is a lovely little place. It has two markets nearby – one selling vegetables and fruits, the other selling clothes, jewellery, shoes and other knick knacks. There are quite a few restaurants in the vicinity as well. However, for me, the big plus was the locality’s proximity to Matunga.
Matunga is like ‘THE’ place to go if you love South Indian food. I’m a proud South Indian who adores her Idli, Dosa, Pongal and Filter Coffee. In fact, filter coffee runs in my veins.
The fact that Matunga aka Kings Circle was just a 15-minute walk away, ensured that I never left Sion Koliwada for the entire duration of my stay in Mumbai.
However, I stayed in a god-awful place.
The owner of the PG (Paying Guest) I was staying in was an old Tamilian lady. She was a difficult entity to have around 24*7. I wasn’t allowed to cook in the PG and this meant eating out all the time. Yes, I was forced to have breakfast, lunch and dinner from restaurants all the time.
Privacy was non-existent. My room was tiny and the landlady was nosy. In spite of this, I continued to stay there because I loved the locality.
It didn’t matter that I was spending an exorbitant amount of money on buying food every day.
It didn’t matter that I was berated for wearing shorts that were too short.
It didn’t matter that some of my roommates were absolutely bonkers.
It didn’t matter that I could never rest in peace after a hard day’s work. The landlady would always ask a million questions the minute I got home.
None of this mattered.
However, it did take a massive toll on me.
This is what I meant by being overly comfortable with familiar surroundings. You hold on to that familiarity for as long as you can. It’s comfortable, even safe, but it will hinder your growth.
Today, as I’m hunting for work, I keep wondering about this. I can always choose to stay back here in my hometown. Or, I can choose to leave, and move to a different city, irrespective of whether it’s familiar or not.
I’m a little torn because while I’m impatient to leave the nest egg, it’s always easier to stay at home. You don’t need to pay rent, your mom will prepare all your meals, you have freshly washed & pressed laundry almost daily and you get to sleep in your own room.
There are many advantages, but you will be accountable to other people aka your parents. There are strings attached. So choose wisely.
I’ve never been overly attached to my home. I’ve always chosen to leave home in a (poor) bid to be an independent adult. There’s this rush that comes with living on my own terms. Which is why on most occasions, I choose opportunity over home. And I’m sure I’ll pack my bags to leave soon enough.
Meanwhile, there’s one important thing you must keep in mind.
Never limit yourself to your surroundings.
Irrespective of whether you’re at home or in a different city, always push your boundaries. Don’t sit back and relax all the time.
Get up, go out and explore.
Rediscover your city. Find new neighbourhoods. Make new friends.
Add a little adventure to your life.
Embrace your life. Embrace yourself.
Choose the road less travelled.
You might just surprise yourself.