Biting the bullet
For the past year or so, I've had pretty much the same routine. Go to the office, write, eat lunch, chat with colleagues, interview someone interesting, write some more, rinse and repeat. It's been a fulfilling, secure and comfortable existence.
Yet, a multitude of things are changing and evolving at a rapid pace. The news industry is crumbling worldwide due to a lack of money and the rise of censorship-loving authoritarian leaders; print media is on its deathbed (goodbye to our Thai print siblings Post Today and M2F) thanks to the internet; colleagues are performing a mass exodus.
A new government may (hopefully) be preparing to run the Kingdom now. On a more personal level, close friends are packing their bags and leaving to pursue more exciting opportunities.
The times they are a-changin'. It's high time I take a leap of faith before falling back and drowning in my own comfort zone once again.
Comfort feels nice, safe and warm. Most people today make it their end goal to live comfortably and avoid anything that would lead them to a bit of discomfort. It's understandable, but throughout my whole life, it has always been the hardships, discomforts and changes that have led me to grow and evolve. Research has shown that when you continue to do the same things, you eventually stop growing, leading to self-absorption, boredom and discontent. It may seem like common sense, but some people don't realise this until it's too late.
Before the newspaper, my first job was at a lifestyle magazine. Leaving the comforts of school life and being tossed into the real world, I had to quickly learn the ropes. It was very stressful. From being terrified of calling strangers over the phone, I had to learn to push through the discomfort and get the job done, no matter how long I clutched the phone in anxiety. From being a shy and introverted girl, I had to learn how to be assertive and social at interviews and press conferences. And the more challenges and problems I faced, the more I matured and grew as a person.
The magazine provided me with a plethora of amazing experiences and a solid foundation in writing. Yet after two years, I was plateauing. The job just wasn't doing it for me anymore. I was, however, so comfortable in my position that I resisted change. I knew I needed to leave, but I couldn't. It seemed as if I had it all, but I was lost and complacent, and as a result, I felt stuck, hopeless and absolutely miserable.
Suddenly, change was forced upon me. Rumours started flying around that the magazine would close. Colleagues dropped away one by one until there was no way around it. I eventually had to crawl out of my existential crisis, acknowledge my fear and apply for a new job.
I was accepted at the newspaper, the magazine shut down, and I wondered why I hadn't done it right at the start. I've always seen discomfort as a threat, but this whole time, it was comfort that was the true enemy; it was comfort that was wasting my time and energy.
The newspaper challenged me, pushed me to improve my skill set and allowed me to meet amazing and driven people who offered me new perspectives on life.
Nick Ut and Sebastiao Salgado risked their lives in battle zones to show the world the atrocities of war. Queen Silvia of Sweden was the first royal to speak up and condemn child-sex abuse, resulting in her projects for change. Thai artist Wipaphan Wongsawang shared her horrible experiences of sexual harassment and now runs the ThaiConsent website to educate people on consent and sexual violation. These people did not choose the comfortable path and, as a result, they have changed countless lives throughout the world. They, among many others, have inspired me to do more. I vowed to never let myself succumb to complacency again.
Which leads me to today. While things are changing left, right and centre, here I am. I go to the office, write, eat lunch, chat with colleagues, interview someone interesting, write some more, rinse and repeat.
So with open arms, I am now embracing discomfort. My chapter here is done. In a few months, I will be turning a new page -- moving to a country where I don't speak the language, where I will have to learn a completely new set of skills, and where I will no doubt face many new and uncomfortable challenges -- all in the hopes of creating some positive change. But at least I know that I will grow a heck of a lot more as a result.
Apipar Norapoompipat is a feature writer for the Life section of the Bangkok Post.
Apipar Norapoompipat is a features writer of the Life section of the Bangkok Post.