I recently had the pleasure of catching up with a friend whom I hadn’t seen since high school. We were quick to recount our adventures over the past three years. I asked him what he was up to since high school. He replied with the usual “Same shit, different day.” Furthermore he expressed his disdain for the city and how he couldn’t wait to move away, as long as then timing was right (timing is never right, just do it.) I was a bit heartbroken to see such a good person so bored with a mundane existence. Is this how everybody feels in Modesto? Is this the prevalent state of mind?
But this thought process isn’t limited to Modesto only. During my time in San Diego I came across numerous individuals who expressed interest in leaving because they wanted to see something new. For them, Pacific Beach and The Gaslamp Quarter were old and boring. I could not see how someone could be bored in San Diego, but then again I only lived there for three years. Later during my time in college, I had the privilege of studying in Barcelona. A close Catalan friend of mine gushed the first time I told him I was from Northern California. He told me time and time again how his dream was to drive up and down the PCH. I did that the week before I landed in Spain, it was nothing new to me!
The conclusion I came to is that people aren’t bored with their hometown, their bored with routine. Think about it, how many of our friends (or us for that matter) hang out with the same people, do the same things and generally stay inside their comfort zone? When someone tells me they hate Modesto or how boring it is, what I hear is “I wish I could step out of my comfort zone and try new things.” I lived there and I loved it. Mainly because I look for the small miracles that make everyday new again.
You have to be able to make everyday new and unique. But not everyone can do that because that involves taking risks. People think that simply moving to a new city will alleviate their problems. And while that may be the case for the short term, in the long term they’ll find themselves in the same routine, only in a new city. Then they’ll be clamoring for their friends and family back home.
Everyday when I wake up I tell myself that I will step out of my comfort zone and try something new. That maybe as easy as talking to a stranger, taking a different route to a friends house or going somewhere completely out of my element. This weekend I found myself at a Portuguese Festa. I’m not Portuguese! But being in a new situation challenges you to grow as an individual. And more times than not, it’s a lot of fun.
Reality is what you make of it. You could choose to complain about the routine of life or you could something about it. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Spain or Modesto; it’s how you handle it. I met a pair of French exchange students staying in nearby Turlock. They loved the valley! They went on and on about how nice the people are, about how green everything is and about how much they love it. And this was towards the end of the semester, when you’d think they’d be ready to go home. Imagine if you approached every day like it was your first day in a new city. Think about how much happier you’d be.
I’m not saying you’ll be able to accomplish all your dreams in your hometown. If you want to be an actor, chances are Modesto isn’t the place for you. But no matter where you’re at, you need to have a positive mind and be willing to make the best out of any situation. Everything you’ve ever wanted is one step out of your comfort zone.