I am lazy, like really lazy.
Give me the option between going out with friends or rewatching ‘Friends’ on Netflix, and I will choose hanging out with my laptop for repeat viewings of “The One With The Embryos” (if you know, you know).
So when I was looking ahead to a semester abroad, it wasn’t obvious to me why I would want to pack up all my stuff, leave my friends, family, and beloved NYC. FOMO aside, it seemed like a big effort and a big step outside my comfort zone.
As I debated whether or not I should go to London, I began to reevaluate what was really holding me back. Had I become too comfortable in my daily routine? Was I purposefully avoiding social interactions? Why did I feel it was too much effort to do new things and meet new people? Was it because it was too awkward and risky? Maybe being lazy is how I keep myself safe. Let’s be honest, Re-watching ‘Dirty Dancing’ is the only true guarantee of comfort, am I right?
So I finally decided to embark upon the ultimate escape and packed one (very large) bag, sublet my half a room, and moved to London. Settling in to London, I fully expected a temporary experience, but was also cautiously aware of the effect that 5 months abroad could have on me. As I was forced into a completely new situation and met new people from all over the world, I surprised myself with how comfortable I was at making conversation. And, how easily I could connect to people, and genuinely enjoy their company, if I didn’t focus on the awkward introductions.
Turns out, I was making things much harder for myself by anxiously awaiting the worst, rather than expecting the best. Escaping my everyday routine made me more aware of how much I needed to connect to people, and I got even better at identifying the types of people I really click with. And, putting myself out there, making plans to go out, and travelling around the world with people made me more comfortable with myself.
When I get home to New York, I am of course excited to reconnect with my friends, but I will also be open to new friendships. I will bring back with me the excitement of meeting new people and discovering new places. I will really take advantage of living in New York City, and soak up everything it has to offer as if it were just a temporary stay. From now on, a few lazy Netflix afternoons will help me recharge instead of retreat.
Escaping to a new country has been the step back I needed to get some perspective and set new goals. In a new environment, I was able to see how capable I am and how strong I am. It has been a reinvention of sorts, and a time to redefine myself.