As a 20-something, I put myself in situations to stretch the boundaries of my comfort zone. I purposely obliged myself to try new things. I moved to places unlike where I had grown up, and I fashioned a life for myself that did not deny my past, but challenged my paradigms and broadened my perspectives. I’m glad I did. I changed in ways I wanted to through these experiments in experience. I learned to be more flexible, more adaptable. I also set goals for myself based on what I wanted my life to look like, what I thought I should want my life to look like, and what I feared it wouldn’t look like I if didn’t stretch myself.
As a 30-something, I’m doing some of the same, but much less of what I think my life should look like and much more of what I want my life to look like. I’ve noticed a similar trend amongst my 30-something friends and colleagues, best summed up by one of my dearest friends who is contemplating moving out of New York City and into the suburbs, “I’m tired of spending my time fighting the city. I used to go nuts as soon as I got to Connecticut. But now I find it relaxing.”
How many of us stay in and fight? Living in a city, which we always refer to as the city, the only place where we thought we could fulfill our ambitions; or paying the mortgage on the house we thought we should have; or continuing to pursue the ambitious career we thought would make us happy. How many of us continue to force ourselves to have the experience we’ve already had, that maybe once worked but now doesn’t? Doing what we think we should be doing instead of welcoming in what we would now prefer? Hanging on to the things that once served us well, but no longer have a lesson to teach, is failing to realize that in accepting another change, we are challenging our paradigm yet again.