Perhaps you’ve heard the quote, “Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone”?
This has rung true many times in my life but one time in particular stands apart.
I had recently graduated from college and was living in my hometown working as a waitress. I had no idea what to do with the rest of my life. I had potential, I had ideas. But I was overwhelmed by the freedom of choice. I know, it was silly, but it was true (how we long for that now, right?)
A part of me wanted to just stick around my hometown and live it out there with a boring job that allowed me to hang out with friends, eventually get married and be a stay at home mom like I wanted.
But I knew that wasn’t the answer.
My friend Lindsay and I were contemplating what to do — should we move to New York? Chicago? Florida? Australia? We were both exhausted just thinking about it.
One weekend she went to visit a friend in South Carolina. She called me from her friend’s apartment and told me she love Charleston and had applied for a job at a resort. Was I coming?
I vaguely recalled hearing of Charleston but had no idea where exactly it was or what it was like. But this was my chance to make a move. No job, no plan, but I was 22 and it was exciting!
Within 24 hours, I was in. Two weeks later, my parents loaded up my belongings and drove me to a place I’d never even visited — or Googled.
I moved in with Lindsay (our rent there was only $450/person!) and started out my new life in the…real world? I didn’t know. I had secured a transfer to a waitressing job at Applebees and my apartment had a pool. Anything could happen now.
I was SO out of my comfort zone. When my parents packed up and left I felt so alone — I had never been away from them like this because I grew up in the same town I went to college in. It was weird and sad.
Then, Lindsay came home from work and everything felt a million times better. I was still out of my comfort zone but she was with me and I knew that I could do this as long as she was by my side.
Together, we explored the city, went out to bars to meet people by ourselves, made friends at work (she got me a job at her resort!) and tried out online dating. We tried saving money but our paychecks were pretty darn tiny and often we spent weekends out on the town where it fell through our fingertips. But we had a blast.
I still didn’t know what to do with my life, the resort wasn’t a real job! But Lindsay never stressed. She is laid back, calm, collected and…wonderful. Instead of “freaking out” as I was prone to do when stressed, I would stop and ask myself, “What would Lindsay do?” Even when she wasn’t around, she was supporting me in my head.
I had so much fun in Charleston but I knew it wasn’t my final stop. By the end of our first year there, I knew I had the opportunity of a lifetime to go to Washington, DC for a journalism internship. It was so hard to decide if I should stay or go — it felt like in this decision lay the fate of the rest of my life!
Eventually, I chose to step out of my comfort zone again — to leave the city I had come to love — and forge another path. It was so uncomfortable that I almost didn’t go in the end! Thankfully I did because I’ve now been in DC for 8 years and life has turned out as it always should have.
Lindsay still lives in Charleston and there’s a part of my heart that will always be there. I’m thankful that I can go back every year or two and remember that sweet, uncomfortable time in life that lead me all the right things. I can still call Lindsay anytime I want and know she’ll listen and have that calm, collected advice that got me through so many other moments (including way back in high school when we met!).
I went back to Charleston in May and got to meet Lindsay’s new baby. It seems that everything has worked out for her just as it should as well.
Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.
Disclosure: Compensation was provided by State Farm via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of State Farm