Wanderlust: Not all those who wander are lost

It’s hard to explain to people why you sometimes feel like you need to just get away. Whether you’re running from something or simply need a break from reality, sometimes you just need to go. Whether it’s to a big city to get lost in the crowd or just your bedroom where you can find solitude, you need to be anywhere but where you feel stuck right now.

When I was 18 and believed I had my life together, I shook my head at people like the current me. How could they not know who they’re going to marry, where they are going to live, or what their career is going to be? How are they still in school? Why are they taking so many vacations when they should be saving money?

I have come to realize that life rarely goes according to plan, and I am very slowly accepting this fact. Before 2014, my life went pretty much exactly as I had planned it, with some minor road blocks here and there. In just two years, I was humbled and hit with a giant reality check, as my life had been one unexpected event after another.

In this time, I took any opportunity I had to grow as a person or experience life in a way I hadn’t before. I wandered, often not sure where I was going. I took trips I never would have before because, “I needed to save money.” I went out for two different college sports that I “didn’t have time for” when I was in school for my bachelor’s degree. I went downtown with people I wasn’t very close with and allowed myself to cultivate relationships that I was too self-conscious to explore before due to a fear of being disliked. When I took on these experiences, I had no idea what I was doing for myself. I was simply running, throwing myself at every opportunity I had because I didn’t know what else to do.

The most important lesson I have taken from this crazy chapter of my life is that although life hasn’t gone according to plan, I am not a failure. It took me a really long time to realize this, and it’s something I still struggle with. I might not be getting my doctorate degree, married with children, or in the exact job I want by the time I’m 30, but I can assure you that I am in no way unhappy with my life.

Wandering has allowed me to find parts of myself that have been missing. In the time I was “lost”, I asked myself many important questions that often went overlooked and was eventually able to be honest with myself and answer them. I think wandering may begin for someone because they feel lost, but it will ultimately lead to self-discovery, a feeling of peace, and a new sense of purpose. I’m still wandering through life, but I don’t feel lost anymore.

“The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are. The second greatest is being happy with what you find.”


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