my damn bliss

After quitting my job in December and before hopping a plane to India, my future felt promising but unstable, exciting but vague. I had left corporate America (thank God) and had at least a few months of traveling ahead of me. I had the world at my feet! I had a chunk of change with which to travel after saving for months. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. I was excited. And I was scared to death.

The catch is this: with no responsibilities, no job, nothing holding me back (other than my own fear), I could do whatever I wanted. But that meant that I had to figure out what I wanted to do. And when there’s a world of possibilities out there for you, finding the right one can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. A lovely problem to have, for sure, but daunting nonetheless.

We’ve all been urged by various people (and greeting cards) to “follow our bliss”. But what’s a girl to do if she doesn’t know what her bliss is? Without an answer to this question, it’s easy to fall back on opportunities that are safe. Fool-proof. Easily accessible.

The idea of searching the world to find that thing that makes you come alive is scary. Because what if you don’t find it? That question alone is enough to keep someone in their comfort zone for the rest of time. Fear of failure and fear of the unknown are paralyzing.

The act of traveling has already taught me so much over the past eight weeks. And the most reassuring lesson has been that I needed this. I needed to see the world, to explore and question and prove myself wrong and experience new places and cultures and tastes and ideas and dreams. I needed the time to think.

On this trip, I get to be a kid again. In part because I can have as much candy as I want and I get to stay up past my bedtime watching TV, but most importantly because I get to play the “what do I want to be when I grow up?” game on a daily basis. The answers change weekly – sometimes daily – and it’s been a great exercise to observe these ideas, embrace them, let them pass and let new ones appear without feeling guilty for not having all the answers just yet.

It seems like a lot of other twentysomethings find themselves restless and searching for similar answers. We’ve been told our whole lives that we should get the best education possible and that our education should result in the best job possible. When we end up in an office and we’re miserable and we’re not sure why because we’ve been told that this is what we should want, it’s a bit discouraging. And confusing. And finding a different solution, or sacrificing a nice big paycheck for more freedom and happiness, is difficult. But if we don’t find a way to explore our world – be it through travel or reading or pursuing new hobbies or self-examination – we’ll never find the bliss that we want to call our own. And we certainly can’t follow it.

I still don’t have the answers to all of my questions. I never will. But I’ve learned to pay attention to certain things: to pay attention to the things that make me excited and the experiences that peak my curiosity. The days where I get wild ideas about the future and the random occurrences that make me giggle uncontrollably. The questions I want to ask locals over and over again, and the types of people I’m drawn to. Those new friends I meet whose jobs make me painfully, sinfully jealous. I like to think of them all as pieces to the puzzle or clues on a scavenger hunt, each one valuable and meaningful in finding my way.

With each new city I visit and each new experience that I can tuck into my little pocket of memories, I feel myself moving closer to whatever it is I’m searching for: meaningful work, a place to settle, a comprehensive outlook on life. Whatever. But I’m also loving the journey. And it’s not just because I get to see the world; it’s because I get to see myself with new eyes. The view is always changing, and I can only have faith that someday things will suddenly become very clear. Until then, all I can do is stay alert and enjoy the ride.

15 thoughts on “my damn bliss

  1. Ur bliss will come to u. Ure a good writer πŸ™‚ Maddie and I are in Cambodia now – hope u guys are loving life in Nepal! (?)

    Huuugs and BANK I BORDET,

    Charlie & Maddie

    • Thanks Charlie! We miss you guys! Have lots of fun in Cambodia and keep us updated on your travels….we are in Nepal and start our trek in 2 days! Xoxoxoxoxo and bank i bordet πŸ™‚

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. This is an awesome post, and so relatable. I can 100% identify with your journey of trying to find your bliss – having moved from Boston to SF and then back again, gotten married, and quit my 9-5 for part-time work and blogging, all in the span of just over a year. It’s been a crazy ride, but I am so much closer to finding my bliss!

    Keep up the great writing!

    • Thanks Amanda! I really admire you for all the changes you’ve made. It’s always nice to hear from someone who has gone for what they wanted and taken such big (often scary) steps to get there. I think the crazy rides are often the best πŸ™‚

      Sent from my iPhone

  3. What an great post! I can’t wait to find out how the dust settles after this journey comes to an end. I just have a good feeling there are some awesome things in your future πŸ™‚

  4. I love this! I’m moving across the country in a week to find my bliss and follow my heart. Take that, greeting card companies! Your journey is inspirational! Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

  5. Marian, I am so so glad that you’re enjoying each moment, because each is precious and collectively really can change your whole outlook and perspective on life. I swear, traveling around the world is priceless. And if you’re anything like me, have you caught the travel bug yet? Assuming yes, don’t you just want to travel ev.ery.where now? πŸ™‚

    • Um, YES. It’s a little ridiculous but awesome, no?

      Ive been loving reading your updates and seeing your photos. I’m likely going to Paris for a few days this summer and want your advice! Will email if i ever get around to it….I hope you’re soaking it all in! Bisoux! Xo

      Sent from my iPhone

  6. I love this post! I am unhappy in my job in corporate America but I don’t know what I want do instead. Teaching yoga makes me happy but I’m not sure about teaching full-time. Ah! All part of the journey, I guess.

    • Thanks meaghan! I can totally relate. I felt like my job was sucking out my soul, but never saw full time teaching in my future. It was so frustrating. I’m still searching for ideas that will fulfill me but I think that as long as you keep your mind and your heart open and keep pursuing new experiences, the answers will come! I’m just now realizing that my future may include a bunch of different things, not just one, easy-to-explain career. I wish you all the best in your own journey!

      Sent from my iPhone

  7. Love this little piece you wrote, saved it for my personal folder (not being weird) because it captures exactly where my mind is now. Hope you find this thing that excites you and then share it with me ;).

    • Eddie! I’m so glad this resonated. Its a scary time and place to be, but we’re also lucky to have so man options and so much freedom. We’ve got to allow ourselves time to not know the answers before we ever plan on finding them. Hugs, and keep me updated on your life! Xo

      Sent from my iPhone

  8. I love this! I like your idea of using all those things as clues: what brings you joy, what fires up that curiousity and even what makes you jealous. I’ll have to pay more attention to all of that in my own life and see if there are any patterns. I left a job that felt like it was sucking my soul away last year (high end retail loss prevention) and it’s definitely freeing but a little terrifying because now there’s the whole, “what now” feeling. I finished a yoga teacher training (that was actually the final push out of the door at that job) last fall but, contrary to everyone’s expectations (even mine) I ended up not wanting to teach. No phenomenal, transformation, just learned enough to deepen my own practice and solidify what I already know. It’s always possible that I might teach at some point, but not now.

    Now, I am relaxing at a concierge position in a condo building (that shockingly pays more than catching shoplifters!) until I feel like it’s time to change things up again. Sometimes I get worried about becoming too complacent and letting myself stay in this comfy little shell…but I also know that part of me won’t let that happen. Not to mention my own trip to India coming up this year will probably shake something up, travel always does πŸ™‚ I look forward to hearing how your journey progresses, thanks for sharing it πŸ™‚

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