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Going Out of Your Comfort Zone

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Everybody’s journey in life is different; there are endless possibilities and paths to choose from. Many of us go through similar situations that we learn so much from, but in many different ways. In the story “Allegory of The Cave” by Plato, a prisoner gets out of the cave that he has been imprisoned in his whole life and see’s the real world as it really is. I went through a similar situation when I decided to move out on my own and left my “cave” into the real world. “Behold! Human beings living in an underground den, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the den; here they have been from their childhood” (page 1). The prisoner in the allegory of the cave has been imprisoned since birth. The only thing he saw were shadows, and felt a fire behind him and his whole life, this is all he saw. He was imprisoned with two others but could not turn to see them.

He and the two other men in the cave would play games on what shadow they would see next and the winner would be the one who guessed right of course, but that is how they carried on in the cave. Since I was a child, the only thing I knew was wake up, go to school, come home, eat and sleep; Then I would wake up and repeat that process as well. I felt I wasn’t able to do anything for the first 18 years of my life. My parents would tell me to do something and I had no choice but to obey. Much like the prisoner I was eager to leave and see the world on my own. My parents said I couldn’t make it very long Gonzalez 2 without them, but I preceded with it anyway the first chance I had; I did not even thinking about any of the consequences that would come with it.

The prisoner, similar to my situation, also left the cave the first chance he had when he escaped from his bindings. Shortly after I turned eighteen, I saved a little money and moved out with two of my friends. Much like the prisoner, getting used to my new surroundings out of the cave were surreal. I moved into a 3 room condominium and I had my own room. I had nobody telling me to go to sleep early or tell me to clean the house or do any chores whatsoever. I would stay up all night with my friends and if I did not feel like going to class, nobody was disappointed at me, I felt like a free man and I thought this joy of being free would never end. I was finally out of the “cave” that was holding me back my entire life. When the prisoner escaped, after a brief period of confusion and pain because of the light of the fire, he finally gets his first glimpse of real objects and not just shadows.

He realizes for the first time that there are more real things other than just statues. He is fascinated by the trees, flowers, houses and when he looks in the sky he sees the sun for the first time. The prisoner sees water and the stars and is fascinated by the whole experience. He puts together that the sun is the source of all light, and he gets more of an understanding of the new world he sees before his eyes. After some time, the fascination of something new becomes just normal. After being on my own for a whole year, I had very little money. I was working many hours because I had to pay rent and insurance and phone bill and I found it to be no longer found it fun or exciting. I decided to move back into the “cave” with my parents because I wanted to continue attending school, and living on my own would not allow me to do that.

Like my situation, the prisoner returned to the cave to let the others knows what he had been through and seen. Gonzalez 3 I finally returned to the “cave” that I so desperately wanted out of. I told my younger siblings about how much fun it was living on my own. I told them that it is a great experience that they will get to go through in life, but that they should wait until they are done with school to do so and not make the same mistake I did. My youngest brother, who is twelve, told me as soon as he turns eighteen he is going to move out of the house too. He did not believe that it could be so hard living on your own. I tried to explain how hard it was, but he is only a child and I did not want to spoil his dreams, so I told him that he can cross that bridge when he gets there.

My return to the cave was much similar to the prisoners return to the cave. When he got back to the cave he was held in, he told the other prisoners about the outside world. He then asked them to join him, but they only ridiculed him for “losing his eye sight;” He only could not see temporarily because his eyes were adjusting to the darkness again, but how can one explain that to a person who knows nothing other than what is in front of them? They continued to tell him that life for him would have been better if he had stayed. Moving out of my “cave” was worth the experience. Although I wasted an entire year of my life, I learned so much from it.

I learned family and education is very important, also I learned how to be responsible. Like me, the prisoner also learned so much when he left the cave. Sometimes we must take a path that is not always right, but that leads us in the right direction. Now the prisoner and I can only teach others the lessons we have learned, but one will never truly understand until they go through something similar. I can only hope that the experience that others go through ends as well as it did for the prisoner and me.

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