I encourage my fellow young adults to go on an adventure. You’ve got to travel beyond the boundaries of your normal life. You can do this. You can save some money and do it, or find ways to make money as you go. And you should do it alone—go on a solo trip.
If you’re a millennial, chances are you have faced some existential anxiety or confusion in the past hour. Maybe you sometimes dance with questions about identity and life purpose. Who am I and what should I do with my life? Or maybe you’re thinking about what to watch next on Netflix. Either way, I encourage you to take a trip.
Every ancient culture through history built a coming of age journey into their way of life. When the adolescent approached adulthood, he or she would go through a rite of passage. In this process the young adult would search and find clarity on questions of life. Our society has lost this coming of age ritual. College doesn’t quite cut it for most of us. Don’t get me wrong—moving out of the parent’s house, making new friends, making merriment, and learning new knowledge are great, but most graduates are still confused AF about what to do after the diplomas are passed out.
If you go beyond the boundaries of the familiar, and you proceed with curiosity about self and purpose, I have no problem betting the farm that you will key into what you’re “supposed” to do. What are you “supposed” to do? What you feel to be true and important. Not what “they” told you to do. Practically speaking, this is possible because traveling beyond your normal culture and community can show you your true self.
When you are in tune with who you are, you can joyfully bring out your gifts. This expression is joyful because it is natural rather than forced. Everyone has their own way of singing, dancing, and playing with the music of our reality. Please allow me this metaphor of music, for it is clear considering the songs of birds, melodies of crickets and newborn frogs, the dance of blooming flowers, and the spiraling flow of dolphins at play, that song and dance are essential qualities of our universe.
The rallying cry of our time is to do something you are passionate about. A few generations ago the modus operandi was to get the secure job and work it for a handful of decades. That’s fine, it worked for them, but today we want mission, purpose, accomplishment, and most important, fulfilling relationships and community. Most of us have access to the basic necessities of an amazing reality—computers, internet, cell phones, airplanes, and so on. When those become given parts of our norm, then we may move on to higher level fulfillments.
You can go your whole life playing the script they taught you. But please don’t. Tour the unknown. Forget the script. Forget the right answer. There is no multiple choice. Throw out the test! Go make your way. Write your own script. Who are you when no one knows your stories? Maybe you’ll find you can try new stories. You can introduce yourself differently than normal. You may share different details of yourself. Become the author of your destiny. I can’t imagine anything more precious.