Over the course of the past twelve months, I have been subjected to a crash course of what most millennials would likely call a “poor example of adulthood.” I divided my time between Toronto and Barcelona, where I found myself renting a small room and working for next-to-nothing at a bar near Las Ramblas. I watched happily as friends got engaged, married and reproduced yet I started to wonder if there was a memo I didn’t receive. Even in a happy relationship, the end-goal of marriage is not forefront on my mind, not to mention the thought of being a homeowner repels me to the core. As for children? I am still learning to take care of myself, therefore the responsibility of taking care of another human being is simply beyond me at this point.
Those three major life events are nowhere on my to-do list for 2017, instead I feel that in the coming year I will embrace being rudderless. I was brought up being unknowingly spoon-fed North American consumerism culture and as such the ingrained need to be somebody and be successful are not so easily traded for the joie de vivre approach Europeans have towards life. My heart beats for Europe; it soars for traveling and it pines for Barcelona… But my head? It is less concerned with lofty aspirations and instead causes omnipresent anxiety as I consider a career, retirement savings and how to make good use of my degree. To my very core I am divided into two separate people with two separate sets of needs (some would argue three or four people, depending on the day). I am concerned with the existential repercussions of this mentality; namely, how can I make my way towards self-actualization if each day the route is changed?
In coming months I truly hope to throw myself into the unknown in ways I have been too cautious to do before. Taking risks with safety nets hardly helps the pursuit of happiness. I aspire only for my most simple needs to be met (a job, a home, love and support from family and friends) yet I wish to reach this goal on my own terms. I truly believe I have become too fearful to make bold choices. Now, I hope to fail, and in all honesty I prefer the fear of rejection rather than the cozy blanket of complacency.
The last three years of travel were initially to explore but eventually became an escape. The lessons I hoped to learn on the road were lost during the trip and now I am left with fragmented experiences I am hoping to mold into future foundation. I am optimistic that by accepting the success and failures that will inevitably occur this year, I will open the door to new possibilities and be confident in saying “yes” to each new adventure.
I hope this year brings all of you health, happiness & prosperity.