So I, like a lot of the internet (where is she at? like a million plus views?), read this article recently about 23 Things to Do Instead of Getting Engaged at 23 from a girl who I wouldn't necessarily say I would be opposed to being friends with. In fact, I'm quite sure we would be friends or at the very least Facebook friends if I met her in real life. We'd be friends who disagree on things and hopefully we would have good, challenging, intellectually stirring conversation over things like the fact that I disagree with a lot that she posted about in her list of 23 things. And you know what? That's okay because disagreements happen. That's life! But I'm not here to dog on her, that's for sure and truly not my intention at all. In fact, quite the opposite. I'm here to have a chat with her.
So I even took some time to read a few different responses to see if I was alone in my thoughts because of how many people loved her post. Obviously something happened because now you are here and reading about a post I read and how I didn't agree with a list and how I'm about to tell you my own list. So what happened was that I decided that since it's the internet and since this is my blog that I could throw my thoughts out there too. Why not join the party?! It's not even like the idea of a list of things to do before a certain age or things to stop doing is new. They've been circling my Facebook newsfeed for quite a while and I would be lying if I didn't really enjoy some of them. There is just something about them that is to the point and inspiring. I'm just hoping that I can tackle the "to the point" part. That'll be a big enough of a hurdle for me as it is.
Back to this chat that I'm having.
My main thoughts for you, my new friend Vanessa, would probably start off with asking if you have any regrets after writing that blog? Like, I'm still trying to decide how much of it was sarcasm and how much of it was things that you hold very dear to you as important. Now it's all out there for your viewers to decipher for themselves and I'm sure you feel somewhat vulnerable being in the public's eye like that. Or maybe you don't, I'm not sure because we've just met. Maybe we can talk this one out over a tea or something when I go back to the Asia side of the world because I'm a lot like you. I have been living overseas in Southeast Asia this past year and plan to head back there again. Apart from being quite the adventurer, I also enjoy sarcasm and wit, both of which you are fluent in. So we are hitting it off in some areas really well but there are definitely things that differ between us. For example, I don't like Nutella or the show, GIRLS. I'm also not opposed to getting engaged at 23 nor do I think it's smart to "go out with two people at the same time just to see how longs before it blows up in your face". That just feels like the hellish realities of high school or junior high. Don't worry though, I don't think these are things worth tossing each other out over.
I have what feels like a million thoughts about us Millennials. Maybe you'd agree with some of them and maybe some points would cause us to get feisty and possibly spill our teas or whatever is between us in our hypothetical meet up over there in Asia. One of the biggest thoughts that I have is that we are all wanders for the most part. Your blog, WanderOnwards, and the fact that you have dubbed yourself as a "Professional Wanderer" make me think that you would agree.
If Pinterest could coin one main quote that we have all inevitably pinned, J.R.R. Tolkien's "Not All Who Wander Are Lost" would probably be it. I would start there with that because c'mon, how many of us got that as a tattoo this year? I mean I personally didn't but I certainly thought about it! I think that a lot of our generation wanders and at times are seemingly aimless. If you doubt that just check how many of us have no clue what we want to do with our future or how many have switched their major once or even five times. We are not alone in our confusion and in our questionings, nor is it always negative. We need to figure our stuff out and a lot of that inevitably takes time, which because of the surmounting pressures we feel like we don't have any to spare. So what hope is there for us who wander?
Well, I propose that we need some things in our lives to root us down in some way. I think that will help, not just a little but a lot. Now, hear me loud and clear, I am not suggesting that this means settling down somewhere. To me, roots are not equivalent with your marriage or occupation status. I think it means that we need some anchors in our lives that keep us grounded while we are soaring through our roaring 20's and life for that matter, however that may look like for us. I have some suggestions as to how to find some clarity as to who you want to be, what you want to do and what inspires you in your early 20's. You know, since we are seeking out some clarity in those departments not just in our 20's but for the most part there since that's when we are expected to be pursing college and a degree and then a 9-5 job that turns into a career with benefits and options for our future.
You said in your blog that you think that "Millennials deserve the opportunity to develop ourselves, alone". I am half with you on this one and half not. I think that some of us need alone time and some of us don't. But at the end of the day we are all going to be molded by something. We are all going to be influenced by something that will shape us into who we will be. My suggestion is that we don't lose ourselves but that we walk the fine line of learning what it means to become. One of my favorite authors, Shauna Niequist, hits the nail on the head when she says this in speaking of twenty-somethings, "There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don't lose yourself at happy hour, but don't lose yourself on the corporate ladder, either.”
And look, I'm just a mere 23-year-old myself so I don't claim to have this all figured out just yet. I, myself, am still becoming! My hope is that by sharing what has helped me some would be of benefit to you and maybe to others as well. I didn't go to college and I certainly don't have anything close to a 9-5 job but I have been plagued by the confusion about what I wanted to do or be. I find myself uncertain of the future at times and wondering if I'm doing the right thing. The game changer thought is that I don't fit into the group that wander and are lost. I'm not saying that you are in that group though, not my call to make nor is that really my point. But I think that it's just possible to find yourself going nowhere and at the same time not make any sort of progress.
Life can be a raging sea at times and although there is adventure out there, let's not throw out the anchors and compasses just yet. I think there is wisdom in keeping them aboard.
Keep reading for my list of 23 things...