“Time to leave now, get out of this room, go somewhere, anywhere, sharpen this feeling of happiness and freedom, stretch your limbs, fill your eyes, be awake, wider awake, vividly awake in every sense and every pore.” – Stefan Zweig
Turn around, look at your life and decide right now if this moment, this place makes your pulse race and your heart bend. If there’s not a fluttering feeling in the deepest part of your soul, questioning and absorbing everything around you, get out right now.
If you feel comfortable, content and unchallenged… stand up and walk away. Make plans or don’t make plans, but whatever you do, leave this place and find somewhere new.
There’s a reason the word “leaving” sounds so nice. Like saying “see you later” instead of “goodbye,” it puts you at ease. It signifies a fresh start, a departure from the old and overrun. Because leaving is just the precursor to arriving, and there’s nothing better than a fresh start.
Whether it’s a new apartment or a new city, starting over isn’t about changing your scene, but the way you’re living in it. It’s about opening your eyes again, walking to the ledge and looking up, down and across, once again comprehending the vastness of life that sits openly waiting for you.
Life has a tendency to get stale. Like your favorite food, it loses its edge after a while, that special quality that made you love it so much in the first place. We, like the places we confine ourselves to, become as dull and boring as our surroundings.
New experiences are the reason we live. They are the reason we get up every day, the reason we carry on. While we enjoy comfort, we crave experience. The point of living is not to resign yourself to one part of life, but to continually redefine yourself. It’s to baptize yourself, over and over again, in new waters and new experiences.
You have your entire life to be comfortable, to sit in your house and bask in the familiarity of it. But right now, while you’re young and uncomfortable, keep going, keep challenging yourself. Keep making yourself uncomfortable. Because it’s only when we’re uncomfortable that we are growing and learning.
To truly understand yourself, your purpose and those around you, you must keep moving. You must move at least five times; five times to open your heart and dip your toes into something new, fresh and life changing.
1. To get away from what you know
Your first move is like taking flight for the first time. Like learning to fly, you realize the only thing stopping you from the world is yourself. You don’t have wings, you have legs, airplanes and trains. You have buses, cars and ocean liners. You have the world in front of you, with nothing but open sky and limitless possibilities.
But first you must leave the nest. You must say goodbye to everything you grew up with, the small world you once considered enough. You must unlatch yourself from the comforts of the familiar and place yourself in the middle of chaos.
This first move is the hardest. It’s the moment you willingly decide to be uncomfortable, scared and alone. It’s making the decision to become a foreigner, an outsider, a refugee. It’s abandoning everything you once cherished for the idea that there’s something better out there.
2. To find new experiences
The second move you make should be one of restlessness. You should be tired of the same flavors of your now comfortable surroundings. This move is about feeling again. It’s about accepting that you can’t possibly know everything, but you are going to try.
You are going to have experiences, adventures and an unforeseen future. You don’t know who you’ll meet, what you’ll find or how you’ll get there, but you will do it. You will jump into it blindly and openly.
You will make new friends, find new flavors and reignite that passion for life that came with your first move. You will not rest until your hungry soul is placated. You will leave your old friends for new ones, your first language for another and that idea that you’re home for that invigorating feeling of homesick.
3. To chase love
To chase love is to chase happinesses. It’s to decide that you will throw yourself into the swirling, maddening and restless chase we’re all trying to enter. Because love is the ultimate destination, is it not? It’s the reason we move, every day.
It’s the reason we get up and fight through the bad. It’s the reason we keep going, trudging on, meeting person after person. It’s the last goal, the final frontier and the only thing worth moving for.
If you think you’ve found it… in a person, a city, a job, you must move for it. If your dream job awaits in Spain, you must move there. If your heart yearns for the pink beaches of Bermuda, you must go there.
If you fall in love on the dunes of the Cape with a man you barely know, you must follow him. Chasing love is not irresponsible, it’s honest. It’s admitting that there is no greater chase, nothing more important. Because if you’re not chasing love, what are you running after?
4. To escape that love
Love isn’t infinite. It can be found in a moment, a single dose or a fleeting romance. It can be a year of perfect love with someone who isn’t supposed to stay in your life. It can be in beaches that bring you peace until your heart years for something new. It can be in the first bite of pasta and over with its last.
Love isn’t defined by its length but its capacity to touch you and change you. Just because it doesn’t last doesn’t mean it wasn’t real. You must leave for love but you also must realize when that love no longer remains.
You must be strong enough to walk away from finished love to find new love. You must flee the suffocation that comes from stifled love and keep your heart open for more.
You must never settle, never give in to the idea that you can’t have another one. Because the world is full of things to throw your heart into, things to make you weep and realize (yet again) why you’re alive.
5. To begin all over again
You must resist the confines of comfort. You must defy the idea of settled. You must never resign yourself to the ordinary or the easy. You must challenge tranquility for the promise of something greater.
To live is to be born and to continually live is to be reborn, again and again. As a new person, new lover, new friend, you must willingly evolve and transform into new versions of yourself.
You must never allow the new place you’ve created to become the final place. You must consistently defy the idea of comfort for the idea that you’ll never be fully satisfied unless you’re exploring, changing and moving.