Do you ever look back and think about how much you’ve changed and how you’ve got here? Changing often has a negative connotation but for me, change is about growth. Sometimes it’s just a quick moment of reflection, or being in a new situation that allows you to recognise development and progress.
I recently to spent a weekend in Germany with a friend from London, my home. We’ve known each other for years, but never had a particularly close friendship and I suppose this was the first opportunity we’d had to really get to know each other.
The weekend was great and talking to someone who you have known for such a long time, but has a completely different perception of who and what you are today is actually quite funny. It’s not that he thought I’m incapable, but we weren’t in regular contact so didn’t know the ins and outs of each others’ lives and people change over time.
Our changes have a big impact on our everyday lives and for me, developing an open mind has been a big game changer for the risks I’ve taken and challenges I have faced.
I actually remember when this first happened. I mean, of course you don’t become open-minded over night, but I remember when I first recognised it:
It was the final week of my study abroad year and I had finally agreed to jump into the harbour during the early hours of the morning. You are probably picturing pink skies at sunrise and wondering why it took some persuading, but North Germany’s Baltic Sea is most definitely not warm and the grey cloud-cover is hardly picturesque.
The discomfort of plunging myself into the freezing cold water, yet experiencing an extreme rush of satisfaction perfectly reflected my journey. Especially as I then pulled myself up and laughed with friends. I was losing fear, pushing boundaries and growing as an individual throughout the most enriching year of my life. I will never forget the look on my friend’s face as she said “Ich bin stolz auf dich Alisa!” I’m proud of you, Alisa and I felt so proud of myself too that I’m pretty sure my smile was touching my ears.
Since moving abroad to work, I am facing new challenges and experiences all the time. Moving country can be pretty overwhelming but even as I feel more settled I am still learning every day and being put in new situations all the time. Sometimes I still think ‘Wow!’ as I realise how fortunate I am to be able to talk to and laugh with people from all over the world without even having to travel.
Of course, it’s not only moving abroad that allows for reflection and change. Sometimes it’s a new job, meeting a new person or the relief you feel when a problem no longer stresses you. When my friend from London visited, we were able to catch up and reflect on how things used to be, but it was clear that we’ve both changed a lot over the years. In fact, it was almost as if we’d re-met each other!
For us, it took just one weekend to recognise our progress and think about the future. As I mentioned earlier, change is about developing, so grab the opportunity with both hands, you’ve got nothing lose.