Thursday, February 2, 2023

Relocation Theory: a Thought

It was back in 2006 while flying towards Paris as I looked down at the lights of cities in Ireland. Like a sudden wave, I was flooded with this idea and wonderment on if I could “make it” down there. If I was transported down there, would I be able to navigate, communicate, and survive in a foreign land? As time went on and I evolved this thought I came to believe that the only real way I could expand my skill set was in this relocation example because I would need to delete all the existing routines I had to allow new ones, and new skills to develop. Today, though, I wondered if this was too shallow. 

Today, while being hit with waves in the Indian Ocean as I was snorkeling, I wondered why I had the ability to develop new skills in new areas. Was it simply the deletion of previous routines? As I say in my book, Finding Kansas, “firsts” are of the utmost importance and “whatever happens first must always happen.” This makes it quite crowded for new things to develop so, to supersede this, there must be a new environment. As I saw a school of Moorish Idol fish fight over a hiding spot in coral, I began to wonder if it isn’t the deletion of routine, but rather the deletion of fear. 

Yes, when I’m talking about firsts I so often talk about routine of day, or foods to order, but there’s also a menu of firsts on daily dangers. Has a certain pair of clothing shocked you repeatedly? Have you been burned by water that was too hot coming out of the tap? Have you ever fallen on black ice? If you said yes to any of these you check twice for ice, you barely touch the water before you commit to putting your hands on it, and in terms of static, well, hopefully it isn’t too shocking, but in all of these examples you have this fear that’s attempting to protect you. So too, does my body do this with social situations. 

In a foreign land I am unaware of the social barometer. I’ve always been a barometer of the room and if tensions were going up, say in school, the upping pressure would drag me down and I’d be fearful for whatever outburst was coming up next. It’s odd, isn’t it? The fact that I’m poor at reading facial expressions but the ability to be a barometer for the tension in the room. It’s true though, the dragging down impacts all of my body’s ability to process. Here, in RĂ©union, this doesn’t exist. However, as the sun beat down on my back and already sunburned legs today as I pondered the dangers of a stonefish, I wondered if this could last. 

If I were in any place long enough, wouldn’t logic dictate I’d eventually have an ice experience (maybe not here in a literal sense) or too hot of water? Eventually, I would learn some French words if I stayed here forever, and I’d learn the difference between French spoken in a conversational manner and French spoken in an angry tone. If this is accurate, then eventually every place would have the same fears. However, and I don’t have the answer to this, would the personal gains made when traveling somewhere new outlast the new fears that take over? Is it truly the relocation that creates the growth I’ve experienced, or is it a naivety to the same social stressors that exist anywhere but simply can’t be processed or understood due to language and cultural differences? It’s an interesting notion, one I hope to dwell on and come up with more answers down the road. 

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