Sometimes we can live our life in a bubble or a room with four walls. The edge of the bubble or one of those walls becomes the extent that we discover life. Just outside those confined areas are places unexplored, people we haven’t met, adventures that haven’t happened and a world of possibilities that we may never know.
When I was in the Air Force I was sent to Adana, Turkey as my first assignment. I was fresh out of boot camp and tech school. At nineteen years old I was being sent half way across the world to a land I had to look on a map to figure out where it was. Upon my arrival I was placed in one of the dorms on the base, a small room with four walls. I was a little reluctant to leave the base as Turkey was under martial law at the time and men with machine guns could be seen everywhere. There were people I talked to that had never stepped foot off the base in the two years they had been there for fear of what was outside the gates. This presented me with a choice. I could either follow in their footsteps and stay inside where I knew it was safe, or I could take a chance and venture out and see what the outside world was like.
I grew up in a very small town where we didn’t lock our doors at night and everyone knew everyone. The most natural thing for me to do was to play it safe, confine myself to the base, serve out my assignment and get back to the States. However, something inside of me pushed me not to do that and I jumped in full force. Due to a dorm shortage, they were offering to pay people to live off base and this nineteen year old got himself an apartment in the local village above one of the shops and promptly moved in. It would turn out to be one of the most amazing decisions of my life.
I immersed myself in the culture and met new and interesting people. I started to learn the Turkish language. I ate Turkish food, got invited to families homes and got to understand the Turkish culture and people. I was awed by their amazing respect for the elderly. When visiting a Turkish home, the most senior member of the family always sits nearest the door. That way in case of an emergency they are the first to safety. When sitting, you don’t sit with your legs crossed where the soles of your feet are showing. It’s considered to be disrespectful to your elders. The list goes on.
Because I chose to get out of the bubble and leave the four walls, I had experiences that most nineteen year olds never get. By leaving those four walls I made friends that I have had for over 30 years and still see today. Life can be scary, but by locking ourselves within our comfort zone, we take a chance that we are going to miss all the incredible parts of life that it has to offer.
If you have found yourself confined to your bubble or your four walls, you don’t have to start big to begin to discover the beauty that life has to offer. Pick one small thing that you always wanted to do, see or experience. Take that one small step outside your comfort zone and before you know it those small steps will become bigger steps and in time you will be running. We only get one chance. Live life, enjoy life and be the you that has always been there. Explore the outside of your comfort zone and see just how exciting it can be.
Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles today.