Let’s get personal-
First things first. Hi, my name is Sarah (you know that), and I have always been absolutely terrified of getting out of my comfort zone. I grew up in the same county in which I attended elementary, middle, high school and college. I recently made the biggest jump of my entire life, and it changed everything (for the better).
I’m not a risk-taker. In fact, for the longest time I was the exact opposite. I grew up with an energetic best friend who was always on the verge of doing the craziest, most daring activities (read: skateboarding down steep hills, CrossFit). I on the other hand, always appreciated my little bubble, and wanted to maintain a level of absolute contentment.
I’ve always been independent, to a certain extent. I’m simultaneously incredibly outgoing and I love spending time by myself. I am a walking, breathing enigma in more ways than one.
If you follow along with me on social media, you’ll realize that I recently made an entirely humongous decision. I packed up my entire life and moved away to pursue a career I love, and began to find myself in the process.
Anyone who knows me, and knows me well, has known of my plans to move to D.C. since I was a child. Add in a mix of cobblestone, a dash of colonial architecture and place it on the water? Boom, dream town. And that’s what I fell (truly, madly, deeply) in love with in Old Town Alexandria. My first encounter was on a rainy, windy, miserable night in December. King St., the main stretch in the Historic District, is lined with trees and Christmas lights – breathtaking. And if you can fall in love with something in disgusting conditions, it really shows where your soul is.
Let’s fast forward one month; I dropped (literally) everything, accepted an internship, packed up my life in one week, and moved 4 hours from home.
As ideal as it may sound to move to your dream town, (Old Town is quintessential Sarah Selip town, I swear) it can be terrifying. Sometimes life really isn’t in your favor. When these unlucky situations happen you realize the importance of being your own best friend, picking yourself up by your bootstraps, and learning to deal with it on your own.
I’m a pretty lucky person, superstition-wise. I’ve always had the best luck winning Chinese auctions and raffle baskets. But sometimes, bad things happen to unsuspecting people. These experiences, (both good and bad) teach you how to cope. How to build your skill set, how to be stronger. New experiences lead to better sense of self and help you determine who you are, what you want to be.
If you’re ever feeling uninspired, get the heck out of your bubble, your skill set, do whatever makes you completely uncomfortable. Last summer I was searching far and wide for a journalism or editorial internship in Pittsburgh. I’ve always been enthralled by the idea of working in fashion editorials, so that was a no-brainer. For whatever reason, I found TABLE Magazine. I, a picky eater at the time, had just started to explore my options and expand my palate. The idea of working for a food magazine? Completely foreign concept to me- I didn’t know a thing or two about food, drinks, what the heck gazpacho is (gazpacho: a Spanish-style soup made with a tomato or veggie base, served chilled).
But like most experiences of the sort, I dove right in. I quickly became completely encompassed in the lifestyle that food brings to the table (no pun intended… for once). Like fashion, it mimics culture, heritage, tradition.I found an entirely new passion and appreciation over one short summer. I attended events, networked my butt off, and put everything I had into being the best intern I could be, saying yes to everything, even if it meant long nights and jam packed schedules.
Moving to Alexandria has been one of the hardest times of my life for a plethora of reasons. I’ve dealt with a lot, and my schedule can seem a bit daunting at times. But engulfing myself in the hard hitting world of political public relations, yet another wild change of field, has been the best thing for my personal growth. I’ve created new goals and dreamt new dreams. I’m painting a better picture of what I want for my future.
To get out of your comfort zone is an absolutely terrifying thing. Believe me, I know and I’ve been there so many times as of late. But in my humble opinion, the key to life is to learn and love. There’s always more out there – more to see, experience, understand. More people to talk to, things to see, and beauty to attempt to understand.
I challenge you to do one thing a day that unreservedly terrifies you: ask a colleague to coffee, try to do 5 more pushups, wake up an hour earlier to watch the sunrise. Talk to the person who sits near you in class, put yourself out there. These little experiences create your character. Please don’t waste the time you have.