After celebrating my 6 month “vanniversary” with yet another rice and canned chicken dinner, I sat down to put together a handful of lessons that I’d learned in those months. I shared those words on Facebook and, to my surprise, people read them.
(If you haven’t yet, you can catch up here.)
I’m shocked, and thankful, at how well it’s been received. I even got a ton of comments, emails, messages, and texts about it. Some people even asked for personal advice. As flattering as that is, I felt like I wasn’t capable of providing answers that would actually help. After all, I don’t know a lot of things. In fact, a lot of times I feel like I don’t know anything!
For starters, I flunked out of business school after 3 semesters. I can’t tell you much about politics, let alone hold my own in a debate. And if my life depended on my ability to juggle, I’d be nothing but a memory.
The more I see, the less I know and understand about the world and about life. While I’ve learned some things that hopefully you can apply to your own life as well, I definitely don’t have it all figured out. Sure, I finally did graduate college, I make a modest living traveling, and I can grow a pretty solid beard. But that doesn’t mean I have the answers.
In fact, on the long drive to Alaska, I contemplated for hours all the things that I don’t even know about myself. I asked myself questions I hadn’t given much thought to before and I let my mind wander, hoping to miraculously stumble onto a solid answer. To no avail, when we reached Alaska I made a couple phone calls to people I love and trust, hoping that they could fill in the gaps. Turns out, nobody has all the answers for me. Not even my parents.
I felt lost. Not like, “I need to Google Map this,” lost. But like, “I don’t know who I am or what the hell I’m doing at all,” lost.
That’s not a fun feeling to have and I’m guessing you’ve felt this way too at some point or another. Unfortunately I’m not about to tell you how to get rid of the feeling. I’m still working on it, myself.
But I have found solace in surrounding myself with good people who know me well and care about me. While they can’t tell me the meaning of life, or how to juggle really well, they have taught me that it’s okay not to know things. I don’t have to know what I want to do for the rest of my life, or what I want to do next year for that matter. They insisted that being 24 and lost is normal (whatever that is) and that it’s okay not to know myself completely.
It’s hard for me to come to terms with the fact that I’ve been around for almost a quarter of a century and I don’t even know what makes me tick. I tend to beat myself up about it. Maybe you do too. But I’m finding that few people, if any, really do understand themselves completely. I’ve begun to realize it’s not about the answers that I do have, but what I’m doing to find the answers to the things that I don’t know.
I don’t know if I’ll ever find some of the answers that I’m looking for but I think as long as I keep trying to find them, I’ll get closer and closer to clarity. And closer is better than nothing.