It taught me to hang on less tightly to my attachments.
The feeling of being attached is a funny thing, really –
We all hold on to something that is dear to us, whether we realise it or not.
It almost feels like a relationship; not love per se, but more of an emotional bond that magnetically pulls you to someone, or something. For most of us, we can relate that feeling of attachment to something concrete; an object or person that we can see/quantify. However, forms of attachment also extends to feelings, memories, smell; things that are beyond what we generally deem tangible.
To explain myself, I, for one, admit to be someone with a tendency to get attached to places. I associate the coordinates I’ve set foot at with memories, people of significance or a particularly life-changing experience, all of which dictates the degree of how much I am drawn to these locations and the intensity of regret that involuntarily arises when it is time to leave. This is probably why I still fiercely hold on to the very place I grew up at, even though I have accepted that I currently live thousands of miles away in a place that I now call home.
I think it’s safe to say that we all, myself included, appreciate familiarity when it is given. We grow attached to what we choose to be constants in our lives; our loved ones, our homes, our jobs and passions. There is definitely no wrong in this; the only danger is that amidst our comfort, there is an off-chance that we subconsciously grow to be more complacent, which often leads us to be fearful of accepting change, even when it is sometimes warranted.
A side effect of what travelling gave me, was the ability to let go –
Going to new places and seeing things that I’ve never come across meant that I was able to pluck enough courage to step out of the comforts of my own home, to pack my bags and leave behind what was familiar to me for a brief period of time. The first few adventures were terribly daunting but, it led to a profound realisation of the empowerment that I never knew I had in myself, that regardless of whatever environment my two feet are planted on, I am as capable of thriving as how I would’ve if I never left.
All of a sudden, the opportunities are endless!
Allowing myself to explore a foreign place, immersing myself in a different culture, enjoying local cuisine and running amongst fantastic architecture that is brimming with history has broadened my scope beyond the tiny bubble that I was nurtured in. Having your life packed in a suitcase for a period of time also makes you realise how little it is that we actually we need out of all the worldly possessions that we have amassed in life.
Today, instead of the usual fear and regret every time I leave, I now leave with a sense of peace and an open mind for that wildcard of new possibilities. Sure, it feels great to be amongst what is familiar; a place that you’ve happily lived at, or that corner restaurant that you visit every Sunday for their roast or be amongst company that you’ve known for years; I wish for nothing more than to be able to savour that.
What is equally important though, is to acknowledge when comfort zones become incapable of facilitating personal growth; to have that realisation and then the courage to leave.
Which brings me to say, amidst the attachments that you hold on to so dearly, don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to do completely different things, to visit places you’ve never been, to attempt unimaginable heights (literally), and to take that leap of faith when the time is right.
Don’t be afraid to accept or to make changes when conditions call for it, because brings out your ability to adapt and continuously rise up in unpredictable conditions.
Don’t be afraid to leave, because even after leaving, when conditions ripen, know that whatever happens, you will always be able to come home.