In between using most of my college graduation money on flash tattoos and liking my friends “first day of work in the real world #biggirl #ootd” Instagram posts, I found now to be an ideal time to dedicate every free second I have to watching babies hysterically laugh at dogs on Youtube and finding out which Game of Thrones character I am on Buzzfeed. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve been in the real world; the world full of grandmas gardening their virtual farms and catchy electronic music mashups of really important people giving really important speeches. This world is real. This world is weird. And this world is mine.
For the last four years, with a lot of help from the worldwide web, I’ve been able to do my own research on anything and everything that I came across and found to be interesting. I had the opportunity to expose myself to topics that I never dreamed I would care about. When I started to use it the right way, my fingerprint-filled 11″ screen completely opened my mind up to the incredible place I now realize I’m so lucky to live in.
I know what you’re thinking: LEARNING? EWWWWWWWW.
18 year old Loren probably (definitely) would have retweeted that.
But check me out.
Through this crazy online world, I’ve been able to cook meals using nutritious recipes that could possibly lengthen my miniscule lifespan, discover incredible music from bands using instruments I can’t even pronounce, buy handmade clothing and trinkets directly from a working mother of five in the hills of Tibet, keep up with scientific research that could one day cure the diseases that have taken so many of our loved ones, watch countless speeches and documentaries on topics that these passionate people dedicate their entire lives to teaching me about, stumble upon yoga and guided meditation videos that have given me the resources to understand how incredible it is that I’m even alive, and ultimately realize life isn’t truly meaningful until we make it so. #worldslongestsentence?
Exposing myself to these things over the past few years has inspired me in so many ways. I traveled to the countries I read about. I engaged with people I never knew existed. I threw myself into situations I didn’t know I could handle. I took up painting. I started writing more. I joined a nonprofit. I’m healthier. I’m happier. I feel I have truly erased any line markings of the comfort zone I once had and I have never been more in love with my life, or myself.
Sometimes I picture how the world would be now had our ancestors been able to look up the answer to any question they had. I imagine many brilliant minds coming and going without the opportunity to be exposed to that one topic that might have possibly changed their life, and many others. I came across a quote (on the internet! woo!) that read, “What if the cure for cancer was trapped inside the mind of someone who can’t afford an education?” Although, even in a time as amazing as ours, not everyone has access to a formal education, we have this. An electronic book packed with so much information, it’s impossible to read it all. And that should excite us!
We’re alive in a time where we have been given an incredible privilege that no previous generation has ever known. You can learn about anything you want to learn about. You can love anything you want to love. You can be anything you want to be. Who knows, maybe your imagination holds the answer to what’s at the bottom of a black hole, but you have never logged off Facebook long enough to even know what a black hole is.
Every question I’ve been asked about my future since I stepped off that graduation stage, I genuinely don’t have the answer to right now. I know it may feel like some people (aka everyone you’ve ever known) know what they want to do next, but understand that it’s okay if that “everyone” doesn’t include you. Don’t get me wrong, I make sure I’m the first “like” when someone I know posts something about getting a job.
In our culture, jobs are important, money is important and sometimes we have to throw ourselves into something because it’s convenient. But what’s even more important than convenience is for you to truly enjoy yourself, however you decide to spend your short time here. Realistically, you may have to befriend convenience for a while. But know that as you grow, you grow out of friendships too. Even if your job doesn’t interest you right now, you have the platform to expose yourself to one billion other things that will. And you won’t know what interests you until you learn about it!
So, how can you benefit the world while also benefiting yourself? Realize that everything is beneficial to your growth. Become genuinely interested in everything. Learn about where you are. Learn about who you are. Discover what you truly care about, and don’t forget to include yourself.
I’m telling you, the world we live in is really weird. Breathtakingly and wonderfully weird. And I’ve never felt so grateful to be here…in my room…on the internet…learning and happily jobless.