Yesterday I ordered the book "eat, love, pray" by Elizabeth Gilbert to give as a gift to my mom and also for myself so that we could read it together. (Note to brothers - don't tell mom!!). The author wrote the book after reaching rock bottom in her life and traveled for a year to find herself. I was intrigued because I did something similar back when I turned 30. I had just come out of a relationship with a wonderful man but unfortunately it was a relationship where I completely lost my sense of self. A couple of months later, I turned 30. I decided that it would be my year. A year that I devoted to myself.
How did I do this? I resolved to take the year off from dating altogether and to spend the time trying to figure out my purpose in life and who I was. I made a list of all my fears and committed to find ways to push myself to overcome them. For example, I was afraid of heights so I took a rock climbing and rappelling class and did a 160 foot rapel down a cliff at Fall Creek Falls. I joined an adventure club, discovered a new love - mountain biking, and did everything with two new girlfriends. We camped, rock climbed, explored, mountain biked, ran trails, and more. I will always treasure that year.
A couple of years later, I decided to do a solo spiritual journey out west because I was struggling with whether I wanted to go to law school or not. I needed to make a choice in my life and soon. I was very successful in my career but I wasn't feeling fulfilled in my life. I needed more meaning. So I flew into Vegas and drove down to the Grand Canyon. I camped there for a couple of days. I cannot explain the exhiliration that I felt knowing that I was out there alone. It was a thrill to set up camp, build a fire, and write letters by the fire. From there, I drove up to Utah and rafted the Colorado with people I had just met. I then hiked the North Rim, then Zion National Park, and finally Bryce Canyon where I met up with a couple from Canada. They were amazing. They were in their 70s and it was all I could do to keep up with them on the hike. My adventure only lasted for a week but it was an amazing one. I was in the middle of nowhere - there was no cell coverage and pay phones were scarce. At times, I was a little unnerved by it all especially when you're in the desert and you're playing the "what if" game but it was thrilling at the same time. It was in all these wonderful bigger than life places where I finally found my true self and the encouragement that I needed to take a risk and to go on to bigger things. Law school.
I sincerely believe that it was the right decision for me at the time. Even now as I reflect on my life before, I applaud my choice and sometimes wish that I would have done it sooner. But everything happens in its own time. I also know that if it weren't for that trip, I very well may of talked myself out of it or delayed it even longer because of my fear of the unknown. Now I embrace the unknown and am scared of "routine"! How times have changed.