This I Believe

Chelsea - Park Hills, Missouri
Entered on December 11, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: change
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Goodbye to My Comfort Zone

Parents, grandparents, and teachers all try to give advice. They say the same thing over and over again: “Try new things.” It’s as if they have forgotten what it was like to be a teenager. I think it is particularly hard for teenagers to try new things. Most people, me included, don’t like to branch out. We don’t like to get out of our comfort zone. However, it’s important for me to make an effort to expand my horizons. I don’t believe it’s important to try new things; I know it’s important, and I know one girl who wasn’t afraid to do just that.

Sukanya Wongvaithayakul lives in Thailand. Last year she came to my school as a foreign exchange student, and ended up living with me. We became good friends at the beginning of the year. She had started off living with another family, but she was miserable. When she decided to transfer host families, I was more than willing to let her live with me and my family. From then on, Sukanya was one of the Edgar daughters.

Suddenly, my life was changed by this new experience—an experience I did not set out to have. Someone else put me in the position to where all I had to do was embrace it, and I did. Sukanya wasn’t the only one who tried something unfamiliar: I did, too. If I

hadn’t welcomed an outsider into my home, my friendship with Sukanya wouldn’t be the one we have still today. I didn’t just gain a best friend; I got another sister.

If Sukanya has never decided to try something slightly scary; if she hadn’t stepped out of her comfort zone; if she had never wanted to experience anything new, we never would have met. If I hadn’t embraced having someone, not a family member, move in with me, my life would not be the same. I wouldn’t have one of my best friends if she hadn’t been brave enough, as well. Because of this, my life has changed forever. From this experience, one that she started, and one I helped further along, I got something meaningful.

From now on, if I have the opportunity to do something new, something I haven’t had the chance to experience before, I am going to seize that opportunity. I am making plans to foreign exchange to Ireland when I am in college. That decision might give me a new friend. It’s just as the old Girl Scout saying goes, “Make new friends, but keep the old.” I intend to make new friends. I intend to make new friends by trying new things. I have got to say, “Goodbye,” to my comfort zone.