A few weeks ago, I decided to move to France and took a job in Paris. For many years, it’s been my goal to live in France, to immerse in its culture, and to learn its language, and now the timing feels right. When I told my friends, a couple of them approached me separately from each other and told me that they would be too scared to move out of their comfort zone and literally to a different country on their own, particularly if they didn’t have any significant command of the country’s language nor any savings, as it is in my situation.
And in my usual fashion, I gave them unsolicited advice and encouragement, which was something like this (of course, when family responsibilities are involved it is more complicated than this):
Taking a leap of faith — in any way or aspect of your life — is scary in theory and it can be tough and unromantic in reality. The job I took in Paris is not my dream job and most definitely doesn’t pay like one, finding an apartment in Paris is competitive and nerve-wracking, and the bureaucracy in France is frustrating, especially if you don’t speak the language. And all of this is just the beginning.
But when I think of the worst that could happen, I can’t think of anything that wouldn’t be worth the experience. It won’t be easy, but facing the challenges that happen out of my comfort zone is a success in itself because this is also where the magic happens.
And so far, I have survived the worst days of my life, which suggests that I will also do so in the future. And the same goes for everybody else. Go after the things you want, even when the path seems scary. You are more capable than you think. Have high expectations for yourself and you will rise to the occasion.
And then I like to remind my friends of the Mark Twain quote that “[T]wenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.”