One of the big life lessons that I got from 2016 was the realization that I was not all that happy with life. I’m not saying that my life is terrible, but there are pieces that just don’t seem to fit anymore. Where I am, what I do, and where I’m going (or not going) hung to me like and old dress that used to look good but now has a stain, has some weird loose parts that stick out, and is a style that makes you question whether you ever had any fashion sense at all. Have you ever had that feeling? Well, 2016 rained that nonsense down all over me until I finally looked up and realized there was a flood all around me.
Forced to acknowledge the problem, I internalized it until I almost cracked. Then, I decided I needed to consider some big changes. I don’t have the answers. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, and I don’t know where I’m going. The only thing I know for sure is that I can’t continue where I am. Now, I know what some people are thinking or wanting to say because I’ve already thought it and heard it. I’ve also disposed of the thought because I knew in my heart that it did not fit me. Hey, everyone gets stuck in a rut. You have a great job and lots of great things in your life. Just suck it up and get the job done like everyone else. I remember thinking about this bland existence as a child and knowing that I did not have it within myself to live like that. I knew there had to be more. We have such precious little time in this world, and I can’t imagine spending the rest of it miserable and wondering what could have happened if I had the strength to paint with all the colors of the wind (or something equally dramatic).
We know ourselves pretty well as children. We have strong opinions about what we like and what we don’t like. It is not until around the time we hit middle school that we start to become so influenced by our external environment that we lose sight of that internal compass. Instead, we become shaped by the way we want other people to see us and who they think we should be. Maybe like me you wake up one day much later and wonder what happened.
So, I actually started my quest of personal discovery by doing two things. First, I went back and thought about the things that I loved as a child. Then, I considered why I had somehow let go of all of those things one by one over the years.
I was quiet and shy. I read so many books. I had a real love for language and how literature had the ability to take you to another world. I loved learning about space because it was another world to explore. I loved learning about other countries and hoped to one day live in England or Italy. I loved art and music.
Basically, I had the heart of an artist and explorer as a child. After taking a long, hard look at myself, I discovered that is who I am today as well. Protected by layers of sarcasm, I am really just a dreamer. I like to imagine the fantastic and try to make it happen. Getting to know yourself once again has to be the first step on any journey of personal discovery. Although I don’t expect to have all the answers and a whole new world by the end of 2017, this is the first step towards figuring out what my next set of adventures might be.
What did you love as a child? Do you still love those things now as an adult?