I mentioned previously that this post will be about our fund raising campaign. But before I get into that, I’d like to squeeze in some thoughts that came to mind from recent conversations that got me thinking…about life; and being “lost.” And why I think it’s important to embrace these feelings of uncertainties.
The most rewarding part about pursuing this project (Oimei Co.), has been all the catching up with old friends and new ones. Family, past professors, other entrepreneurs and people from all walks of life. Which has made me realize that everyone; no matter what stage of life we are in…we are lost to some degree. Yet we tend to firmly grasp onto familiarities and rely on societal norms to pave the way for our lives. Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s very important to have a plan and a means of measuring our progress. But it can be flexible, is what I’m trying to say. I believe that being lost is a gift in disguise; so face it, embrace it and enjoy the ride.
As the saying goes; “Not all who wander are lost” by J. R. R. Tolkien. Right?!
I’ve been “wandering” (quite literally) this entire year and will proudly admit that I’ve been lost in every way possible. I came to Thailand with only one certain task and that was to finish my last year of undergraduate studies which I did. Aside from that, my year has been filled with uncertainties. Not knowing what I would encounter day after day and having no set plans. Scary?! ABSOLUTELY! But as cliche as this may sound; the best thing about getting lost is the discoveries you make along the way. For me, a year of what felt like aimless wandering and loads of alone time helped me slow down a bit and really appreciate life in it’s purest form.
What’s my point? (learning how to write with a purpose…practicing, practicing)
Well, since I’ve deviated from my “normal” life a little. I’m often told how “lucky” I am to be traveling and living abroad and how great it is that I’m pursuing something I feel passionately about. There is no doubt that I am beyond appreciative for these opportunities but ultimately it was all choices. My usual response to these comments is “why don’t you do it too!” Or “if I can do it, ANYONE can.” THEN, the “justifications” come in. The most common ones being, “I have obligations”, “I don’t have money”, “I don’t know how” I’m getting old”…………….”I’m scared” And, I HEAR YA!
It will always be scary to try something new; be it food experimenting a different career path or moving to a different country. There will always be sacrifices to make; for me a year abroad meant a year away from friends and family, quitting my “jobs”and budgeting solely off savings & scholarships. There will always be obligations that don’t go away but it is important to re-assess what is really an obligation and what’s not. Plans will change and you must adapt. Failures are dependent on perception; a failure can be a learning experience and chance to re-evaluate. People will judge only because they don’t understand; so help them understand. You will need help along the way; so help others and ask for help. And, you will never have everyone agree with your decisions but that’s why it’s YOUR choices, YOUR life, YOUR journey. You will never get a different outcome if you keep doing the same things. Simple as that.
At this point I’m still very much “lost.” Specifically with this project; I am scared. I never imagined that I would be trying to start a small socially conscience business at the age of 24 instead of getting a “real job.” But, I am going to try. Do I know it all?….far far far from it. Do I know if I will succeed? Absolutely not! Am I learning? Every chance I get!
What I do know is that; right now I have no huge responsibilities tying me down. I have an idea of the lifestyle I want; one which includes travel, helping others, using my creativity and always feeling inspired. I may be a little directionless but very excited and ambitious. I may fail a few times which means I just might bar tend on the weekends again; but I’ll keep trying. Yes, I am living off a nearly depleted savings whilst trying to start a small business (something I would’ve never ever chosen in the past) but in my year spent being lost and figuring out what is important to me. I’ve adopted a very minimalistic lifestyle, discovering that it actually doesn’t take much to live comfortably. I’ve opened myself up to people which in return has added much depth to my life and aspirations. I’ve seen things and places I never dared to dream of. I’ve had a small taste of a lifestyle that I want to share with everyone in my life. And I’ve learned that it is possible to live a fulfilling life that is shared in every aspect; one that includes doing good for myself but for others as well.
But what do I know? I’m just a 24 year old nomad. So, try it yourself.
Get lost. Face your fears. Be alone. Push your limits. Share your journey. Keep an open mind. Be inspired. And chase your dreams; your life.