Oh, the Places You’ll Grow!

February 3, 2021

You don’t have to be in a Dr. Seuss book to see something astonishing: our world is a multifarious and magical place all on its own, and there’s always something to fill your heart or energize your spirit. In her reflections on the act of leaving the familiar, Low Entropy Volunteer Writer Anna Bernsteiner examines how we evolve when the where we go becomes where we’ve been.

Your eyes open promptly; the alarm clock is ringing. It’s Monday, 8 a.m. The first thought that comes to mind is the fact that today is THE DAY. A new start. You are already stressed: blood pumping, heart racing, and thoughts rushing.

You are about to leave home. To leave that old house and the small backyard that now seems to be the greatest place you have ever been. To leave all your lovely neighbors behind, who you couldn’t stand before. Last but not least, you are about to leave all your friends and family, quitting all their opinions to form your own. 

Suddenly all the drama seems meaningless, all the excitement of moving away is gone, and what stays?

The paralyzing fear of the unknown. 

Not having an Amazon delivery guy that you know personally because he has been at your house more frequently than his own. Not knowing the best pizza place, where you taste tested the entire menu (even the ones you knew you wouldn’t like). Not having anyone to rescue you with toilet paper when you realized too late that you forgot to refill the roll.

Inconvenience is terrifying to some, and yet it’s what pushes us forward. Stepping out of our comfort zone and realizing that development happens when we face some kind of adversity or obstacle in life is beneficial. 

And how amazing new places and new experiences can be: the adrenaline of doing something you have never done before, meeting new people and sharing your story with others. Just getting different perspectives and views on life can be so refreshing. Moving to a new place doesn’t have to be scary.

So far, I have lived in four countries, with their own languages, cultures and perspectives, all away from family and familiar things at home in Austria. I was fourteen when I first decided, out of curiosity and some inner voice telling me so, to live in the U.K. for a short time. 

It opened many doors for me later in life, but the first few days were pure adrenaline. Spending time with people I didn’t know and who spoke a different language was an inconvenience, to say the least. Yet I discovered a great passion for traveling and experiencing different cultures that still drives me today. Had I not done it, who knows where I would be. 

Two years later I spent a good amount of time in Spain, which was another daring adventure that challenged me differently. Speaking a language in which I wasn’t fluent, working with people from different backgrounds and switching languages more often than clothes was not easy, and left me frustrated and exhausted most days. I was working as a waitress at the time. My coworkers spoke Spanish and Arabic, hardly any English. Most of our customers came from France, Germany, the U.K. and Sweden, which required me to jump from English to German to Spanish constantly.

However, the struggle paid off. I improved my Spanish, which would get me through tough exams the following years. I learned how to step out of my comfort zone, and working with international visitors gave me a greater understanding for people from different cultures and backgrounds.

Inconvenience and the unknown improved the person I am and that I am still becoming. Don’t be afraid to jump into cold water. Don’t be afraid of the unknown. When the world opens up again, embrace newness. It will make you stronger, more open-minded, and ready for bigger challenges.

Where have you been, and where do you want to go? Now more than ever, we’d love to hear your stories of exploration. Head over to the comments section to share it with the world, or join a Low Entropy meeting to start a whole new journey of personal growth.

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