Self-Improvement

The Hidden Power In Pushing Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Facebook reminded me that 6 years ago, I made a big change and moved myself, my broken heart, and my belongings to Manayunk (Philadelphia) PA and began a new chapter of my life. I’ve never lived on my own before, and was excited, and nervous, and TERRIFIED.

I had a lot of questions that I soon found answers to:

Who is going to kill the bugs? Me

Who is going to get the things off the top shelf? Me (with the help of step-stools and climbing on the counter)

Who is going to figure out what to do if something breaks? Me

Who is going to help me in an emergency? Me

You see the theme here. I quickly learned that relying on myself, was the only thing to do. Sure, I had family in the area who I called on, but I was now the head of my household and that was overwhelming. It quickly taught me that I am way more capable than I had ever given myself credit for.

Not only was I solving problems and making decisions, but learning so much about myself. I really didn’t feel like I knew myself. Sure, I knew my interests, what I liked and didn’t like. But I really didn’t know deep down my passions, my direction, what really made me happy, and what really didn’t.

I got out of a relationship that wasn’t the best, and was mending my broken heart and trying to figure out who I was again. I didn’t have a ton of friends in the area to grab dinner or drinks, and didn’t want to sit in all the time, so I decided to really push myself, and go to the bar for dinner by myself.

IT. WAS. LIFE CHANGING.

Why have I never done this before?! I wasn’t embarrassed, or ashamed. I wanted to get wings and beer, so I did. From that day forward, I began dating myself. Taking myself where I wanted, and treating myself the way I would expect, and want, anyone else to treat me. So many friends asked how and why I would just go to the bar alone, and my answer is always “why not?”. It was so unlike me. I’ve always been shy, and timid and clung to family and friends for comfort. But, the moment I let go of that, I grew so much.

From Manayunk, to Phoenixville, I began to learn that comfort zones aren’t really that comfortable. Especially Phoenixville. Moving to Phoenixville I really only knew one person. That was it. (Her, her fiancé and son are absolutely amazing and I am so fortunate and grateful for them every single day). Not really knowing anyone, or having family around I could call on to hang out, I really had to keep pushing myself. Luckily, there are so many breweries and bars and things to do in Phoenixville. My first night there I needed a break from unpacking (and really, needed a beer), so I walked through town, ended up at Stable 12 Brewing and never really stopped going. I am fortunate to have made many great friends by doing so.

Comfort zones also do not really exist with online dating. And online friend seeking. If you’re not new here, you know I use online apps to meet potential people to date. I’m finding that I am drawn to a certain type, but also have been pushing myself outside of that lately and meeting different types of people who I’m actually connecting with and enjoying spending time with. Sure, I haven’t met “the one”, but I love meeting and talking to different types of people, and making new friends along the way. I’m learning that:

1 – I do not give myself enough credit and need to stop thinking that people are “too good looking” or “too this” or “too that” for me. It does more harm than good, and really holds me back.

2 – That clearly what I thought was “my type” has not worked out, so maybe it’s time to expand my horizons a bit.

I also decided to use the Bumble BFF app, which is basically online dating, but for making friends. Honestly, it was a little more terrifying than trying to date. I needed girlfriends in the area, and this seemed like an interesting way to do so. I hit the JACKPOT. I met 2 amazing women, who are similar to me but also different, and can’t imagine life without them. It feels like we’ve been friends for years, and through each other have met so many other people. We’ve all really helped each other to grow and thrive and be comfortable being uncomfortable.

The last year of my life has had more life-changing events than most people have in a decade. Almost a year ago to the day I was in a car accident that I will never 100% recover from. 6 months ago I suddenly lost my dad. I am single, living alone, an hour away from my mom and siblings. If there was ever a time to give up, this past year would have been it. Instead, I took life day by day, kept pushing myself, and got through it. The biggest push out of my comfort zone in the past year with all that mess? Starting this blog. I have never thought myself to be a writer, or creative, or witty, or relatable, But, here we are. Thanks to all that fucked up nonsense, I was out of fucks one day and decided to write a post about my fibromyalgia, and things escalated from there.

I learned then that I like to meet new people, push myself, and learn new things. Don’t get me wrong, I love hanging out with my friends, and love all the of friends I’ve made the past few years. But, I never would have met them if I didn’t push myself. If I didn’t go out alone, and not give a fuck I wouldn’t be where I am today. Yes, I have a lot of areas in my life to improve on. Yes, there are days I question everything. Yes, there are days I’m lonely. But, I wouldn’t want life any other way. All of the bad and rough days remind me that I am enough, and I can, and will, get through anything life has to throw at me, and, you can too.

Keep pushin’ forward, friends.

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Keeping it real, and positive, no matter what life throws at me. Follow Julia on Instagram or read more articles from Julia on Thought Catalog.