After I left college, I had a bunch of options in front of me to pick for my next move — join the corporate world, continue my education or (like many of my friends and classmates) go travelling to “find myself”.
Now I’ve never been comfortable with the term find myself, what the hell does that actually mean? who I am at 19 is not necessarily the same person I’ll be at 30 and I can actually tell you for fact now for me this is true. Finding myself at 19 would have meant that I loved video games, eating junk food, creating random small businesses and clinging onto toxic relationships — my values were pretty weak and more centred around what my hair looked like and if people liked me. Whereas through everyday life experiences and age, more forms of wisdom and random curve balls, I’ve been able to discover more about me than ever.
I read a great quote from Tim Ferriss about 6 months ago, that read “ You don’t find yourself, you create yourself”. I couldn’t agree more with this as that’s exactly what happens over the course of our lives, we learn through experiences and continual to evolve.
I’ve seen lots of friends & family who like myself have struggled with identity and have used various methods to try and find out “who they are”. The most popular one that most of us have no doubt been in contact with is travelling areas of the world and burning through our finances in doing this to find “ourselves” and then return to our actual life to use that realisation to go forth and conquer. The problem is that I’ve very rarely seen anyone come back from their travels with any other learning, than they became good at burning money and taking a billion holiday snaps for instagram.
Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t travel the world to experience different cultures, connect with new people and have an amazing time. I’ve travelled Europe, America and Asia too, where I’ve experienced some beautiful moments and gained new perspective. But, don’t pin your hopes on backpacking for 6 months and expecting to figure it all out and become an oracle — sadly life doesn’t work that way.
Personally, my path was different from those around me, I poured myself into literature, podcasts, videos and embracing new people from different cultures to understand new ways of thinking and gaining new experiences. The caveat for me is that I didn’t have to travel the world for 6 months and burn through multiple credit cards to live on a beach or in a sacred cave to chase enlightenment, I make the time to continually invest in me and I’ll continue to do this till my last days as that’s how we continue to evolve.
The below is a quote I always ponder in relation to the who I am conundrum:
“True happiness beats in your chest. Work out what you like to do best and try to do more of that. Don’t torture yourself pondering the purpose of life. It’s here, it’s now and it won’t last forever, so enjoy it.”
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