In a few weeks one of my best friends is making her first big move out of the UK. Being the bright spark that she is, she’s managed to land an internship for P&G and will be jetting off to Brussels to kickstart a career somewhere in the field of chemical engineering. I’d love to give you more insight into what that is, but unfortunately my brain is a little pale in comparison. I often wonder how we managed to stay friends for so long, given that when it comes down to it, a lot about us is so different – we didn’t take any of the same subjects, go to the same university and now we live on opposite sides of the planet and yet in many ways, we’re still the two shy 11 year olds on the first day of year 7 who share the same, sometimes questionable, sense of humour. Lots has changed, and lots hasn’t.
Given that her big move is in about two weeks, yesterday she asked me whether I had felt scared in moving to Hong Kong and Taiwan, because unsurprisingly, she had that nervous feeling you get in the pit of your stomach just before something important happens. Thinking about it, I’m honestly not sure whether I felt scared – I’ve been in Asia nearly two years and it honestly still hasn’t hit me. I spent a year in Hong Kong, I travelled, I moved to Taiwan, I’m speaking Chinese every day, and yet most days I wake up and I wouldn’t be too surprised if it were back in my house in the UK. I guess, when I left the UK, I was really ready for it, in fact I’d been waiting for it. Every summer at university was spent in exotic places in Europe. My head was either nestled in a book, absorbed in someone else’s life or up in the clouds thinking about where I would be going – maybe my head was never in the UK to begin with and so a move thousands of miles away didn’t really bother me. Or maybe I was scared and I never acknowledged it because I wanted it for so long – I am terribly talented at not letting people know how I feel.
I guess the important thing is – whether or not I felt scared, I did it anyway. The scariest things in life are scary because you don’t know what’s going to be on the other side of it. But the other side of it is more often than not so bloody brilliant that you don’t know how you ever existed before it. Maybe Asia would have been terrible, but it wasn’t, it isn’t, I’ve never been happier. And what would have happened to me if I had been heading to security in Manchester Airport, with a crying Mum, and decided I didn’t have the balls to go through with it – where on earth would I be now? I don’t know, but I imagine it wouldn’t be quite as great. And even if by some miraculous chance I didn’t like Hong Kong, then you just hop on a plane back – the world is getting smaller and smaller anyway.
Comfort zones are comfortable, but life doesn’t move anywhere if you are sitting comfortably all the time. Being scared is okay, but it shouldn’t stop you from embarking on any of the adventures you have in your head.
I’m incredibly proud of the decisions my friend has made and I don’t doubt that Brussels will be another great adventure for her.