When I was 21-years-old, I was a senior in college, hating my major and dreading every single day of life. I would wake up everyday for class and spend my entire drive to campus thinking about how much better my life could be. I had a thirst for life that was never going to be resolved from my current situations.
Life just wasn’t cutting it at this point. I wanted more. I needed more. More than what my small Indiana could give me. Sure, I was okay. Okay. What a horrible word. If you use the word “okay” to describe how you feel about your life…it’s time to find something new. It is time to find a new word.
I learned a lot in my adventures from that small Indiana town to now living a short train ride away from New York City and traveling around the world for a living. Not a single instant of this transition was easy. There are mountains to climb and storms to pass. I had to make sacrifices, take chances and leave things that I loved behind. Months later, I still find the changes refreshing and worth while.
Here is what I did, and what you can do as well to find yourself.
Listen to Only Yourself
In life, you will always have hundreds of voices trying to overpower your own. Friends, family and loved ones will always try to tell you what is best for you. Mostly with good intentions but sometimes with intentions of only helping themselves. Stop listening to the negative voices. Find your voice and don’t just hear it – listen to it. It knows something or two about who you are and what you want.
Drop What is Hurting You
This will always be the hardest part. Sometimes the thing that we think we need the most is the thing that is holding us back. Whether it’s a loved one, a job, school, etc. It can be anything and it can be everything. I had not only school, but also a great paying job and a relationship. I thought these were the things that were going to make me happy. Instead, they were toxic to me and my dreams. I had to drop it. I had to let them go. Some of it hurts me to this day, but I know I am better for it. You will be too.
We all know that one saying. “Stop searching for love and let it find you,” or something similar. I have heard that same thought put a million different ways. Never in my life, until now, did I believe this to be true. I thought you had to work hard to find what you love. Always searching for something that would satisfy my life. On the contrary, it wasn’t until I was burnt out on search that an amazing opportunity presented itself to me, and it was the PERFECT opportunity. I am not saying you need to give up, I am saying you should relax a little. Let it fall in your lap and grab it before it can get away.
Failure is Inevitable
I had a friend in college that was trying to quit smoking. She would count the days that she went without a cigarette and when ever she would fail and go out for a smoke, she would start back at day one. I could not stress enough to her how bad that was for her mental stability. You’re six days smoke free and you have to have a smoke? Start tomorrow at day 7. This is a lesson to be learned whether you are trying to quite smoking or not. You can’t count your failures because they are inevitable, and they can weigh on you are than your successes will.
Don’t Grow Jealous
Listen, we all move through life at our own pace. All your friends are getting married and you’re still single? That’s okay. You’re in your third year of college and still can’t pick a major? Fine. It’s all good. Keep trying. Don’t let others success kill your fight to find your own. Success is in your heart, not in your wallet, brains or hands.
Nothing is more tacky than becoming a big time whatever and rubbing it in everyone’s face. When you become a big time whatever, remain tactful and thoughtful of those that are on the same journey that you have previously been on.
In closing, I want to say that even in your happiest years you will have times where you feel small and unable to move from your bed. That is simply life’s hamartia. As beautiful as it can be there will always be something wanting to bring you down. Whether it be jealousy or anger, it will find it’s way in and you will do your best to kick it out. Sometimes the negativity will prevail and that does not make you weak, it just means that you still have something to lose. It means you still have something worth fighting for. Something worth not giving up over.
Don’t worry, I believe in you.