I grew up in a very small town. When I say I grew up in a small town, in fact I mean I grew up on an Island. Small towns are often known for having everyone “know everyone else’s business,” and my little island was no different. It was a place where drama ran rampant, and little of your personal life was ever kept secret. While there are many beautiful aspects of island culture, this addiction to drama is not something that I’ve wanted to maintain in my adult life.
Things in my life have been pretty chaotic these days. I left the field of wilderness guiding (my job), and have been pulled in many different directions in terms of my next step in life. Just when I decide to move or go in one direction, it seems something just comes up and pulls me in the opposite direction. There’s been this push and pull in so many ways, by so many of the things I love, I can wind up feeling crippled and paralyzed to the point of not choosing any direction at all.
I was thinking about this feeling this morning, as I was hurrying around my house trying to do many things at once, most of which weren’t important. Then this thought hit me like a giant wave crashing down:
“What if all this rushing around is just my ego keeping me occupied so I avoid doing the work I am actually meant to do here.”
Distraction is a dangerous and powerful tool often used to keep us from working toward our purpose. This a very real issue that I see happen time and time again to both myself as well as my peers, and a trap that many twenty-somethings can fall into. I have seen friends avoiding their dreams and instead focusing all their energy on things that don’t really matter (be it boys or partying or money or whatever), only to wind up hurt and distracted and not actually moving toward their dreams and goals. It’s a vicious cycle that can be difficult to get out of.
The truth is, it’s all a distraction.
A small, yet powerful distraction than can unfortunately result in meandering or even avoiding your life’s true purpose altogether.
Something that I try to remind myself when I’m using up all my mental storage for drama instead of forging forward toward my dreams, “will this matter a year from now? what about five years from now?”
I try and think about the steps I’m making in terms of a ten year plan. I don’t honestly know where I want my life to be in ten years, but I do know that I want my thirty-something self looking back with a smile on all the adventures she went on and scary risks she took in her twenties to get her to wherever she has ended up.
I want to make myself proud.
The only way I know I can do that in this culture of drama that lives not only in islands, but also in work places and social groups, is to stay connected to the fact that my life has a purpose. A big purpose, at that.
It’s a purpose, I would argue, that all of humanity shares in the big scheme of things.
That purpose is to be a vehicle for extending light and love to the world.
That can manifest itself in many different ways in many different people, but the overall goal is the same.
Maybe it means starting a blog to share your insights and life experiences. Maybe it means working with people, or having kids. Maybe it means having a really healthy relationship. Or being a supportive friend. Whatever it is, I urge you to hold this purpose very close and dear to your heart.
It’s all too easy to get caught up using your twenties to hook up with lots of people, go to a lot of parties, and drink a lot of alcohol. Not that any of that is inherently bad. Just ask yourself, how much of my mental energy are these actions taking up in my mind? How much space do I actually want these things to take up? Are these choices disconnecting me from my true purpose in the world?
If you answer yes to any of those questions, it’s time to reassess where, what, and who you are putting your time and energy into.
Reconnect to that big, juicy purpose you hold, and make your future self proud. The world needs your light, your love, and your very best self.
With so much love,