About a year and a half ago, I was at the mid-point of my four-month European backpacking trip. I took an entire year off school and worked three jobs in order to go, but I never questioned my sacrifices. The 11 hour work days teaching nine-year-olds how to tread water and do front crawl were the key to the ignition. I made my sacrifices with ease because I knew travelling was what I wanted most. I knew because when I travel I feel fulfilled, content, and in my element.
But what about when we don’t know?
I don’t mean “knowing” in the context of which music festival to buy tickets to next summer.
I’m talking about a deeper sense of knowing — a sense of peace and confidence rooted in your gut belief that you’ve arrived where you’re meant to be.
I’ve been listening to a podcast called The Lively Show that has reinforced the way I try to tackle life. Jess Lively refers to “collecting data through real world experiences” as the formula to proving what we actually do and don’t want (instead of assuming we already know.)
Too often, I’ve seen people I know let opportunities — a trip, a job, a person — pass them by. The opportunity doesn’t look like a straight path to wherever they envision arriving, so they see the opportunity as a detour and assume it’s not for them.
That unexpected trip, job offer, or cute date might not move you directly where you want to arrive, but icould easily be the next bend in the path to knowing. Too many people rush past the fun, challenges, love, and loss “getting there” gives to actually knowing in the first place.
Get your hands dirty — try stuff.
Growing up, I always thought I would travel, but it wasn’t until I went to Thailand for six weeks when I knew I wanted to travel. I was terrified and unsure, but something inside me wouldn’t let me say no. Three and a half years later, those six weeks steered me down a path full of people, places, and perspective (full of fun, challenges, love and loss) I didn’t expect. I don’t regret anything, and nothing I’ve pursued was a waste of time. They’re all essential to how I know.
The Lively Show talks about what to do when you don’t know. Lively talks about practising the “all is coming” mentality. Remind yourself that what you want — whether you’re right about what it is or not — is coming for you. And it will — when you practise fully living in the present.
Don’t confuse this with being lost. More times than not, being lost leads you in the right direction.