Yes, I have cracked a few jokes about my upcoming trip to Bali but I would like to set the record straight. I might take some Eat Pray Love-esque pictures (I am a pretty big fan) but I am not going to Bali to “find myself.” In fact, I didn’t even move to Cambodia to “find myself.” True, at this moment in time I am planning to stay in Cambodia for another six months while I figure out what I want to do next but please don’t mistake that for, “I’m going to stay in Cambodia while I figure myself out.”
I recently read an article while conducting my research, How Elizabeth Gilbert Ruined Bali and was discouraged to hear about the influx of middle-aged women desperate to recreate Gilbert’s story for themselves. Her story is unique because she was unique. Self-discovery can’t be packaged up for the mass market and I really don’t believe saying your “searching for enlightenment” will make it happen any sooner.
So I’ve stopped looking.
Don’t get me wrong, as an avid daydreaming I definitely created romanticized ideas about what life living in Cambodia would be like but the logical voice in my brain happens to be loud and persistent. Even though I fantasized about whom I would meet and the experiences I would have I understand you can’t force people and situations to fit something they aren’t meant to be. I can’t create a fictional character and expect to meet them in real life.
One of the roots* in my life recently shared this video with me and it was exactly what I needed to hear.
People come and go and even if they stay, they aren’t immune to change. This is true for ourselves as well. Who’s to say after you’ve “found yourself” you’re going to remain that person forever? I know I am always learning new things about myself and realizing how much I’ve grown and frankly, I’d be worried if I wasn’t.
In my opinion, the secret to being satisfied with who you are and where you are in life is openness. Life is full of seasons, some harder than others; you just have to stay open to new possibilities and remember no matter how hard things get, that season will pass. You are the only constant in your life and if you’re constantly searching for who you “really are” you don’t even have that.
I could ramble on but I’m beginning to sound like a self-help book and it’s freaking me out.
*You’re going to have to watch the clip to get this reference. You’ve got time, I promise.