Aloha Friday Thoughts: Growth From Leaving Your Comfort Zone

Happy #AlohaFriday from here on Oahu! As usual, it is a beautiful and sunny day here in Hawaii. Most of my Pet Jets posts are about our upcoming flights, member reviews, adorable dog photos, and of course plenty of Gizmo and Stormy content. But today – I was thinking about how making the choice to move, or to start a new adventure in life is of course overwhelming, but also a time of growth. At least for me, moving to Hawaii has been the most life changing things I have ever done. When people come to Pet Jets seeking help they are often deciding to move for new career opportunities, or they are dreaming of moving to a foreign country for the first time. Or they are retiring to their beloved vacation location, or the military is sending their family to a new duty station. We hear many different stories about what is prompting someone to move to a new destination, but at least from my experience – making these big moves in life always brings growth.

I grew up and lived in central Ohio my entire life. I choose to go to college less than two hours away from home. Once I got married, I was still only a little over an hour away from the the only home I had ever known that was surrounded by my entire family and support system. A few years back, the move away from the home I grew up in – to a new small town a little over an hour away felt far. Now that I live 4,400 miles away and it takes multiple plane rides just to get home – I realize that hour or so drive was nothing. I am still very close with my family – I make tons of calls home to them and we love visiting each other as often as possible, but the time change and distance between is certainly long. I felt homesick all the time when I first moved here and I often times still do, but I also know that this move has given me a sense of independence I never had before. With being away from family and my husband being away for the military at times, I have learned to live and enjoy life on my own. As someone who is so connected to my family, husband, and friends, feeling this strengthened sense of independence has given me confidence to reach goals and accomplish tasks on my own when I need to.

Last summer, I sold our house, packed up all of our belongings, and spent weeks coordinating and planning our move to Hawaii. I did this all after wrapping up my first year of teaching back in Ohio. Overwhelmed, challenged, exhausted, nervous, unsure – the list could go on about how I was feeling during this time. I had never moved far away and this move was not only far, but overseas! I had mixed feelings of excitement and anxiousness as I prepared for the big move. Looking back, the challenges I overcame to make the move happen gave me a new confidence in myself. I feel much less stressed about overcoming obstacles after juggling many different aspects of moving. The more difficult things you overcome in life, the more confidence you have to take on even more challenging tasks in all areas of your life – your career, your personal life, and your personal goals. Now I am less nervous to take on challenging tasks within my career and within my life in general.

I planned a road-trip across the country to get with my two dogs – Gizmo and Stormy – from Ohio to California. I had never driven across the country before, but I was beyond excited to see areas of the country I had never discovered. My husband bringing up the idea of re-enlisting in the military certainly made me nervous at first, but I realized quickly that the choice encouraged me to be more adventurous as well. The decision had led me to new career opportunities, traveling to destinations for the first time, and to being more open to trying new things. It is not very often that young people like ourselves are given the chance to live in Hawaiian paradise due to military orders so we are always viewing the opportunity as a once in a lifetime experience. It can be scary in life to commit to jumping into unknown circumstances, but it also teaches you to let go of trying to control every aspect of your life and just enjoy life as it comes. We had no idea where the military would send us. We had no say in where we would go. We were given orders for Hawaii and felt thankful out of anywhere they could send us that we got somewhere we knew we could enjoy so much.

Living in Hawaii has brought life experiences to me that I really never dreamed of having. I have swam next to sea turtles on a random Saturday afternoon just down the road from where I now live, and I have hiked mountains I never thought I would walk across. Beyond just the amazing experiences this move across the ocean has brought me, it has also helped me grow in self confidence and independence like never before. I have been less afraid of trying new things and I no longer question my own abilities to overcome things like a hard hike, or a long ocean swim.

I share my own thoughts and story of moving because I talk to people all the time who are on the fence about moving to a new destination. It is certainly not as easy choice. I miss my home, my family, and many aspects of my “old” life everyday, but I also wouldn’t trade the experience of moving and living in Hawaii because of all the great opportunities it has led to. It is hard to know what life will bring regardless of if you stay in your comfort zone of home, or if you move to a complete new destination. There are certainly ups and downs of living so far away from my home, but I choose to focus on the positive it has brought into my life. If you are on the fence about moving away, I would say the best thing to do is to ask yourself, “why do I want to move somewhere new?” If you are ready to experience a whole new life that will be full of ups and downs then it may be the right path for you – just know there will be good and bad just like home.

A life in Hawaii always appears glamorous on social media, but just like anywhere it has it’s good and bad. I know for me, my heart will always miss the comfort of my home and family no matter how amazing of a place I move to is. I can’t lie, I also miss the more affordable groceries, gas, and dinners out that the Midwest had to offer. As times I miss the seasons in Ohio – with fall rolling around I miss the changing colors of the leaves and the cool air during night with a bonfire. But I really believe I would have never in my lifetime appreciated all of those things as much as I do if I hadn’t moved away. That is what this 4,400 mile move to Hawaii has given me – a feeling of thankfulness for my home and family that is deeper than ever before along with an appreciation for the opportunity to leave the home I know and love to experience something totally out of my comfort zone.

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