This I Believe: My Comfort Zone | Teen Ink

This I Believe: My Comfort Zone

July 6, 2022
By Jackie_Huang PLATINUM, Scarsdale, New York
Jackie_Huang PLATINUM, Scarsdale, New York
20 articles 37 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
Everything happens for a reason

Beijing, where I spent 15 years of my life in the same apartment wrapped around a kaleidoscope of highways and colors. Though a big city, it was simply a 10-mile radius of a bubble I called “home”, including a school I spent all my childhood in. Although this was my comfort zone, I believe that only in my discomfort zone can I grow. 

It was a small school— 40 people per grade, nestled in the city center. I was proud to say I knew everyone and everything. Within the 8 years, I was the student council girl, the choir girl, the theater girl. Never more, never less. One foot across the niche I constructed, it was a risk. I strictly upheld my philosophy of zero risk equates zero loss. I was perfectly comfortable.

When 9th grade arrived, the school underwent major changes and was no longer the academic curriculum my family wanted. I was abruptly transferred to one better known in the city outskirts. Entering my first class, a sharp pang of an unfamiliar feeling shot through. A blend of dread, anxiety, or the sweat of my clammy skin under the tight uniform, or the blinding fluorescent lights that illuminated every foreign face. Student council was different, the choir’s a mess and theater was only a class. Constantly looking for reminders of my old life but failed, I was yet still clinging on to even the faintest connection as a safety net to pull me out from drowning. Everything there challenged the perception I’ve accumulated in the past eight years and came crumbling down.

As the first week closed, I immediately returned to my old school for the weekend. I stood awaiting the rush of relief when I will once again see my “home”. Yet when I scanned the building, it appeared eerily small. The musty windows bordered the narrow hallways; compared to the larger campus, no life seeped through walls and classrooms caved over the hanging lights. There was an odd but sudden feeling of looking through an old memory, something I was slowly saying farewell to in the past.

Unconsciously, I was growing. This change broke my “old” bubble and I opened a treasure chest of “new”. Zooming in on the sensations of fear and discomfort I realized I neglected the excitement, the fresh possibilities, and new wisdom. I started writing more, picked up a sport, learned a language, and no longer conformed to any old rules. This liberation opened me to many possibilities and continues to do so every time I take that risky first step.

Being comfortable decayed me. It hid me from the hidden facets of a bigger world and the breathtaking waterfall of potential. Zero risk is zero loss but one risk is also one possible reward. The niche is not a lock. If we are only exposed to the same garden of people and places, when will there be seeds for growth?

What’s my comfort zone now? It’s my place to be uncomfortable.

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