When we were growing up, our parents told us that taking the time to “Find Yourself” was a waste of time. As if “Finding Yourself” meant joining a hippie band and running away from home on a dilapidated school bus. (Not that hippie bands aren’t cool) Or that doing a Liberal Arts Major in University was a waste of money because it would be impossible to try to get a practical job with your Classical Studies degree.
I frankly disagree with anybody that tells me that “Finding Yourself” isn’t important. What could be more important than discovering who you are at your core? Or finding out what your stand for? Or discovering what you’re really passionate about?
The moment you start living life on your own terms and nobody else’s is the day you really start living.
When I was 19, I went away to a 12 day Vipassana meditation retreat in the woods. Before I left, I was incredibly scared and worried that I would be abducted, brainwashed into a cult and end up as a beggar on the streets. This obviously didn’t happen. The meditation retreat was an amazing catalyst for me. The 12 days free from the clutter of every day life allowed me the space to be with my thoughts and reflection on my life. This experience opened up a whole world to me.
I once met a new friend by chance who decided to turn down a $80,000 a year job straight out of university to go travel around Asia. Granted, given the current economic climate, it can be argued that this wasn’t necessarily the best fiscally responsible move. That being said, I’ve watched her adventures unfold on Facebook and she has created a life for herself that is wonderful and completely on her own terms.
In less than 24 hours, I am embarking on my first long trip to a third world country. I’ll be in Peru for a month travelling with friends and learning spanish. When I originally decided to go on this trip, it wasn’t for any rational reason like picking up a language or a useful business skill. I decided to go because it was an opportunity for me to do something that I knew would challenge me and help me grow as a person.
My point to all this is that all people young and old need to go have adventures and experiences to discover who they are. It’s not necessarily about the activity itself but about what you could discover about yourself. People in their twenties often take time off in between semesters to travel and have new experiences. These experiences shape the people they become for the rest of their lives.
So the next time you decide to turn down a new experience or an opportunity to travel, think about the version of yourself that is waiting on the other side of that adventure. 🙂
P.S. If I can find a decent internet connection, I’ll be blogging about my adventures down in Peru over the next four weeks!
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