If I could write a letter to my teenage self, it would be filled with pages of good advice. You know, full of "if I knew then what I know now". Study harder in school. Don’t worry about that crush who sat behind you in Geometry. Listen carefully to your Grandparents’ advice. That same advice will come in handy one day when your own child comes to you for guidance. And no, chocolate ice cream is not a food group.
But the most important advice I’d give myself is, to know when to let go. Let go of the people, places, and things that no longer feed you mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.
That job that’s going nowhere but is “safe”. The boyfriend who no longer makes you a priority but “it’s better than being alone.” The town or neighborhood where nothing is happening but it’s the only place you know. In short, our comfort zones.
Nothing feels better than our comfort zone. Like baby birds in a nest. The nest is soft and cuddly and filled with the ones they love. The mama bird brings the early worm right to the babies. All they have to do is lay there and open their mouths. Who could ask for anything more.
But soon the mama bird makes sure the nest is no longer comfortable. She pulls out the leaves and anything soft. All that is left are sticks poking here and there. The babies are growing and the nest is now overcrowded. Eventually she pushes a baby bird out of the nest and he is forced to fly or crash and burn.
Life can be that way at times. Without warning you are laid off from that “safe” job. That neglectful boyfriend leaves you for a woman who demands and gets more attention from him. And you’re forced to leave that neighborhood because a developer is knocking down homes in the area to build a luxury condo complex.
The comfort zone now feels like a rug. A rug that was pulled up from underneath you. Now you are forced to let go. But not on your own terms. Forced to take a job worse than the first. Instead of taking your time to find just the right one. Instead of leaving the boyfriend on your own terms, you now feel lonely and rejected. Making poor decisions to fight the loneliness. Instead of taking your time, saving money, building your credit so you can buy your own place, you’re now forced to rent an apartment way too small with loud, messy roommates.
Staying too long in a situation may seem easy at first but eventually the comfort zone will seem more like a roadblock. Blocking you from the direction you should be going. And preventing you from being with something or someone better. It can be scary but yet so worth it in the end.
Just like the baby bird kicked out of the nest. At first the bird is frightened as he starts falling to the ground. In a panic he starts flapping his wings. When he realizes he is no longer plummeting to the ground he calms down and flaps his wings ever so slowly. Before he knows it, HE IS SOARING. Soaring above the trees, over the mountains, and through the clouds. Higher and higher. And just like that, the whole world is open to him. He can go anywhere he wants to go. He can do anything he wants to do. From here the view is so much better. And only the sky’s the limit.