“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive.” Joseph Campbell
After graduating from law school and practicing at a law firm, I had two choices. Should I spend the rest of my days trying to amass wealth in a soul-crushing job? Or should I seek a life of adventure and risk?
The culture of the firm I worked for was all about cashing in as much money as possible. Each person was a case number and not a life. They were a dollar amount and not a person with real dreams and goals. Each day I would count down the seconds until my lunch break. Until one day I asked myself: Is this a life I’m proud of?
I’m not one to take big decisions lightly. I’m especially hard-headed and hardly ever quit anything in my life. But on a warm sunny summer day, I made the decision to follow my gut.
It was a difficult decision. It felt as if I was shedding a layer of myself. I was shedding a layer of norms crafted by society and those around me. I was letting go of expectations surrounding my title of lawyer and professional.
I know what some of you may be thinking. She sounds so privileged. I know where you’re coming from. I agree these choices are not granted to everyone, and I’m grateful to have had the choice. I had no children or mortgage at the time. But I believe having choices doesn’t preclude you from wanting to live a fulfilling life.
Joseph Campbell says we should follow our bliss, and that’s exactly what I did.
I chose a life of adventure.
I knew I loved to travel more than anything in the world. I found my bliss in new cultures, inspiring experiences, and moments of self-reflection. The day I quit my job, I did it because I wanted to experience a life well-lived. I longed for freedom. But most of all, I wanted to feel alive.
The years traveling were transformative. I discovered my love for writing and I reignited my love of music. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr says:
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
After my years of travel, I could never go back to who I was. I’m a square peg in a round hole — a round hole I never want to fit in.
I am much more in tune with myself. I care less about material possessions or what others think of me. I am more present with people I care about and don’t waste a second of my time with people I don’t care about.
Years of travel transformed me by helping me find myself. I have a clearer view of what I want and what I don’t want. But It wasn’t always easy. It wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows. I struggled with exhaustion, anxiety, and doubt. Following your bliss can also be difficult and met with challenges.
I saw many people advancing in their careers and climbing up the corporate ladder. Was I making the right choice? Did I throw away a good opportunity? The truth is you are always making the right choice if you are following your bliss. Following your bliss will catapult you into a higher self. This better version of yourself will be a more compassionate and giving person.
You can only help others when your cup is full. You will only inspire others and be there for them when you feel whole yourself. And aren’t relationships the basis of a happy and fulfilling life?
But what will people think? This question will hold you as a prisoner your whole life. Nobody knows your journey or goals. Only you know your purpose and mission in life. What other people think is irrelevant.
Looking back at my years of travel, I couldn’t have imagined choosing safety over adventure. I can’t imagine the person I would have become or the opportunities I would have missed. The adventure has transformed me and liberated me from what I thought I should be.
When we choose adventure, we ignite a fire inside of us. We tap into the part of ourselves that is limitless and fearless. Each adventure will bring in new experiences, lessons, and growth. With each adventure, you will shed layers of yourself you never wanted in the first place. Every time we say yes to adventure, we live a hero’s journey.
It’s in the moments of adventure that we find the strength to carve out our own path. These moments help us stop caring about what others think. It rids us of unnecessary baggage and strengthens our core.
A life of adventure doesn’t have to be traveling around the world (although I highly recommend it). Living a life of adventure can also mean starting a new project or finding a more fulfilling job. It can mean going outside your comfort zone or facing a fear. It can mean starting a new relationship or ending one. To live a life of adventure means being your own advocate and seeking out a path that’s true to yourself.
The truth of the matter is we are destined for growth and adventure. After all, there is no such thing as a safe life. We will all have to make this choice in our lives. Will you pick a life of safety or risk? It’s a right of passage. A way life tests you to see how much you want something.
Throughout my life, there was always a need to follow the rules. Getting the A’s on exams and getting into a good university. Many of us are conditioned to seek comfort and safety. We are praised for following what everyone else is doing. Society creates followers but reveres leaders.
If you’re struggling to choose a life of adventure, ask yourself the following questions.
- Am I following my bliss?
- Am I letting other people dictate my life?
- When I’m old and grey, will I regret doing/not doing this?
- Will I become a better person? A stronger person? More whole?
Meditating on these questions will help you figure out your true path. It may not always be easy, but it will be the most worthwhile journey.
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