Years ago, after graduating from college, I packed my belongings into my car and made my way to Los Angeles. It was a time in my life of self-discovery. Like most early twenty-somethings, I didn’t necessarily have a plan but I knew I wanted to challenge myself to grow through that experience. The space allowed me to figure out who I was without the distractions of who everyone else thought I should be.
I had been living there a few months and decided to take a drive up the coast to go exploring. It was during that trip, I found myself at this amazing lookout with a stunning view. I sat there on the rocks, looking out over the water, nothing around me but the sound of the waves and whistle of the wind. In that moment, I was fully connected and at peace. I can still close my eyes and be back there in an instant.
While I have a lot of years on the earlier version of myself, there is something to be said for having an awareness of places and spaces that allow you to feel the most like yourself.
This week, we exchanged failed attempts to snuggle kangaroos for some time up the coast to watch whales. As we neared the water, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace come over me, just like it had years ago when I was wrinkle-free, full of wonder, and thought I knew everything about life.
As I looked out at the water, I realized how much life has changed in just a short amount of time.
It has been 3 months since we plucked ourselves from everything familiar in exchange for a life down under. In that time, I have learned something new almost every day. From the challenge of driving on the other side of the road to shopping carts that drive sideways. Different meanings for certain words – “root, root, root for the home team” is likely a phrase I won’t be singing loudly at any sporting event – and “stalls” are not just for horses or cars. The international perspective on American politics, which is guaranteed to lead to an interesting dialogue. The resilience of children. The list is long and continues to grow with each day.
Some of the lessons have been more difficult to process than others, but all have presented an opportunity to get real about life, about humanity, about myself. What I realized is that no matter where I have been or where life may take me, the one thing that remains consistent is at the core of who I am as a person. But, it is easy to lose sight of that as life gets busy. We forget about the place that allows us to feel like the truest and most authentic version of ourselves.
Whether it was an afternoon spent at the lake in Central Park, hopping the train out to Montauk, or summer trips to the lake in Minnesota, water has always been that place for me. The place that allows me to feel centered. I realized it in that moment years ago, sitting on those rocks watching the waves come in.
Where is that place for you? The place where you can go, breathe, and feel more connected to yourself and the world around you? The place where you feel in touch with your passion and purpose?
One of my dearest friends used to spend hours in her garden, tugging away at weeds. Another hits the pavement each morning to run. It doesn’t have to be monumental, it just needs to be yours!
This week, let yourself enjoy the wonderment of life. Explore something new. Perhaps along the way you will find “your place” and be reminded of your purpose, your passion, your reason for existing.
Cheers to a new week!