We all know that feeling of stepping in a hot shower and then never wanting to get out. Especially when you know its so cold outside, the thought of getting out of the shower literally turns you into an icicle. But what happens when you feel this way about life? You force yourself to stay in the warm safety of your very own comfort zone which you have developed over time and you daren't step out in to the ice cold unfamiliar? When I finished my year abroad and faced the prospect of returning to my old life I was in most parts excited. Seeing old friends, going back to the life I had just only a year ago. This was so exciting and I was ready to face 4th year head on both with school work and everything else that came with it.
Manchester, although I had been away for a while, was my home. If anyone asked where I was from thats where I would say, not because of the fact as a family we always seemed to relocate, but with my family moving to France maybe I saw it as my base? However I definitely did not anticipate the shock I received when I came back. Those who had done a year abroad warned us all of a 'reverse culture shock', I laughed it off as ridiculous. How could you be unable to readjust to a life that was once so familiar to you? For me, unfortunately that was the case. The combination of both me changing as a person, having a new perspective on life and fitting into a city that had a completely different set of friends waiting for me yet looked exactly how I left it, was weird. I felt so disorientated and it has taken me time to adjust to. I had never felt anything like it before and after 3 months of being back I am only just starting to feel 'normal' again. I struggled to see how a place I once called home seemed alien to me. This definitely wasn't supposed to be how I imagined it but the shock of it has taught me so much.
1) I wish they warned you more of this before hand (write a guidebook on it or something?)
2) I have learnt how now, more than ever, to take each day as it comes. All these inspirational quotes on pinterest and instagram (of course, I know this better than anyone #instalover) don't mean anything unless you have experienced it and once it hits home to you, you really pay attention. But don't think too far ahead, focus on the now not the what may be.
3) Learn to switch off. At the start of the year I struggled to understand where all this confusion was coming from and immediately thought it was something wrong with me as a person, but once I took time out for myself to just stop and literally do, nothing! You realise how little time you actually ever give yourself to relax. With everything going on around you, school, friends, socialising, working, eating, thinking...sleep is about the only time I would stop. This isn't how it is supposed to be, so taking time out for yourself is more important than anything.
Anyone who knows me knows friends to me are everything and when I saw this quote I couldn't have agreed more. When I struggled at the start of this year surrounding myself with people who appreciate and understand me made the situation seem a whole lot less intimidating. You are who you surround yourself with. Choose wisely & stay positive! :)
So although I know for many this post may not hit home for you too much, but if it just makes you realise how precious life is and to value those in it then thats alright with me.
I found myself initially clinging on to my comfort zone for dear life, purely because it was familiar to me and with everything changing around me, how could this hurt? Fact is, embrace change and although the city I had returned to was the same as I had left it there was no reason I couldn't make it fit the new me rather than questioning where I was supposed to fit back into it.