Recently, I have noticed that the majority of 20-somethings are in a constant search to “find themselves.” I, included, have been caught up in the notion that I need to go on some grand adventure, get lost, and find a way to my ‘inner soul’ before my life can truly begin. However, saying that out loud now only makes me cringe more than my bank account did during those four months I spent freaking out, and trying to “find myself” while studying in Europe.
The four months that I spent abroad were probably, and will probably, be the best moments of my life (excluding marriage, and having a baby if that ever happens). However, after spending those four months traveling, I only seemed to find myself to be ten pounds heavier, a lot more broke, and just as lost as when I initially flew into London Heathrow. In fact, after traveling those four months, seeing some of the most beautiful cities, and eating the most delicious foods: it only made me more confused about what I wanted and who I was.
As a 21 year old, who is heading into her senior year in college, I am more scared than ever. On the outside, like many, I pretend to know exactly what I want to do. I will graduate college, go to graduate school then get a job. Meanwhile, I will meet the love of my life and have a my own “happily ever after”. However, like many, the confidence I have in the fact that this is exactly what I want for my life is extremely low. Deep down, the only thing that I know for sure is that I want a Gilmore Girls reunion movie, I will never look at Grey’s Anatomy the same post Mc. Dreamy, and that I NEED to get 12 more stars on my Starbucks reward card so that I can finally become a gold member.
However, is this a bad thing that I don’t know what I want my life to be at this young age? I toy with the idea of taking some time off, and traveling more. I yearn to join the Peace Corps, go to Africa and aid in the education of young girls. I dream of joining the Jesuit Volunteer Corp for a year, living simply, and changing the world one child at a time. And, a part of me wants to whole-heartedly follow the path that I tell so many people I am on.
All those ideas seem exciting to me, and the thought of having to choose one makes me feel sicker than that time I ate a whole pizza and mozzarella sticks, by myself, while simultaneously hitting the next episode button on Netflix. However, this uncertainty is also exciting. I am young, and I have the whole world in my hands, literally. Although we live in a generation where people are pushing us to “find ourselves”, it is not all bad. I have come to realize that there really is no time limit to this notion of needing to know “who we are” before our life can being. It is the adventure and the quest itself that encompasses what our life is. It is the acceptance that our generation holds in disregarding the need to follow one specific path, in order to live our lives.
These past few months I have learned that it is okay to not know who I am, or what I want. And, frankly, if you can find someone who can tell you that they know exactly what they want at the mere age of 21… they are straight up lying. So, instead of freaking out about needing to know what you want, and who you are – bask in the adventure and the journey that comes along with finding yourself. This is your life, and you can do whatever you want with it.