It’s easy to fall into a routine. It’s easy to get into a natural rhythm that you can rely upon. You build that safety net of friends, find those passions and activities that you really connect with, and make certain places, physical locations or not, sources of refuge.
I’ve discussed before getting stuck in a rut. About having people around you that uplift you and letting go of those who hold you back. About treasuring those moments where you feel completely yourself, free and passionate and full of life.
Except there’s a painful part of this too I haven’t really delved into explicitly. I have certainly discussed my crazy summer of stumbles. It was not by my choice to make the decisions that were made for me, but I faced those consequences and questions of figuring out the new normal.
I’m beyond thankful for the new normal. I’m at a place in life where I can fully be myself and I feel like I’m making a lasting contribution. I see a new direction that I had never anticipated before but is now the place I strive to be. That’s crazy to think within the course of a few months, life would look so different.
But I cannot forget to address that we all must go through this, regardless of your employment status. We all get into these easy swing of things where we return to the same places and people and dwell in that sphere of safety, a shield and security blanket. While I’m not about to suggest throwing these resources off to the side willy-nilly, I do think there’s a time and place where we learn to balance the new with the familiar.
This all comes from something I heard mentioned when being a camp counselor last week. I ended up learning much more than I realized the past week about the place I love from a new behind-the-scenes perspective, I always know that when I look at the seniors who will never again return as a camper, there are many tears shed. But as one senior spoke to the masses, there is a time where having a place of refuge each summer that is so important and precious must come to an end. That comfort will always stick with you past walking out the doors, but its direct purpose it has served thus far must end so others can also experience it.
Even since graduating from the camp myself, I have in some capacity come back every year to either see the campers as an alumni, write a story about its importance, or as a camp counselor. Leaving this year, I can honestly say I don’t know what my future holds involving my second home and the people involved. Especially as a staff member, I was able to make lasting relationships with amazing people yet again, and I hope I can continue supporting whatever direction it might take, but will I know when I must skip a year being physically present? Do I keep going back?
Those are questions that I don’t know, and those could apply to so many things I do in my life. And it’s hard for myself to judge that out of the blue. It seems like those decisions have often times been made for me and I must realize later that yes, letting go to what I thought was good for me was the greatest blessing, but when in the moment it feels right? It would be silly to just throw it aside, right?
I’m not about to predict what might happen in life or project some advice upon everyone’s unique situations. I don’t know myself what I’m doing half the time. But what I want to stress today is to be flexible with the present moment and learning how to accept whatever might come your way. Yes, it could mean changing what your comfort zone looks like. It could move you away from everything you know into foreign terrain. But to truly embody change, you must step outside of your comfort zone. Nothing revolutionary and spectacular in life has ever endured while still feeling safe.
Change is scary. But with the support system backing you up that you’ve built up, it can be beautiful. It’s being able to stretch your comfort zone to allow change to happen. We have to feel that gut instinct telling us that our time in a current situation is up. Whether that’s graduating from school, changing job positions, breaking up a relationship of any kind, or whatever else, if you can no longer see growth as a possibility, you are no longer progressing. You’re stagnant. It feels nice, but there’s still so much more to life than staying in a cocoon of comfort.
Funnily enough, the theme of this year’s camp was Changemakers. It was about remembering that we all have the capacity within ourselves to make a difference in this world if we allow ourselves to do so. For some people, it takes some trial and error to learn this lesson, to know when to let go and live to your fullest potential, and that’s okay. But we cannot be the ones holding ourselves back. We cannot forge strict boundaries to contain ourselves from flowing into what could be.
There’s no place like home. But there’s also no lasting comfort in settling for the norm.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie