On Exploring: Introspectively and Around the World [Dear DBN]
It’s a great big world out there, but you’ve got a great big heart in here. This week, whether you’re exploring inward or outward, whether you’re homegrown or worldwide, it’s important to remember that vastness of experience can come from anyway and it’s just a matter of being open to it. Dig in deep, or take flight, just make sure you do something.
Prescott, I’m moving across the ocean to London, tomorrow. I mean, it’s only a year, and it’s a year abroad in college, so I don’t even know if it really counts or compares. But I’m living alone in my own apartment for the first time and I don’t know a single person in that city and no one else I know is going. I’m excited but kind of freaking the fuck out. Any words of wisdom? Your courage always blows my mind and I could use a bit of badass right now.
Aside from the city and the classes and the big world adventure, the most important, difficult, and worthwhile part of your next journey will be the solitude. The dripping faucet in the other room, the wheel on your grocery cart that squeaks on left turns, the slender space on the train just big enough to sidle into, those moments of deafening stillness shattered and crammed around just you and you alone where your senses are piqued and you’re over and underwhelmed and there’s no one there except your bones and your brain to deal with it. Those are the moments to look for. Those moments when your grocery bag breaks on the busy sidewalk and you try to keep your umbrella over yourself as you pick up cookies that might be crackers or might be biscuits and your shoes are soaked and your keys fall out of your pocket and no one stops to help and you remember to laugh because you took a jet across an ocean by yourself to a city you’d never been to and the moment that makes you crack is cookies that could be crackers splayed across the cracks in the sidewalk.
You are opening a vestibule of fearlessness. You are accessing a star gate to a bigger and brighter version of you. One that’s been there, one that understands, one that will think harder and pause longer and realize they don’t know everything and know so much more because of it. You don’t need words of wisdom. You need a platform. You need to tell the world just how scared you are and that you’re doing it anyway.
Do you think some people are just drawn to staying and cultivating, while others are drawn to going on new and different adventures constantly?
How many movies have you seen about a person who never left town finally breaking out on their own? How about the person who comes home after ten years only to realize the worth of small town values? We’re obsessed “lesson learning” regardless of the direction it happens in. What that means, in the end, is that yes we are drawn to either cultivate or to explore, but those draws can change and people benefit from exploring both.
In the context of my own life, I am an explorer. And often, as a woman, I have had to justify that. I have had to explain the reasons I move so often and more often than that, assure people that I am not worried about how it affects my “husband hunt” or how it will affect my theoretical children. But in March of this year, I was applying for jobs, to escape what felt precarious, and I stayed. I listened to the advice of my best friend, to learn to cultivate. And in those next few months I might have been somewhere else, I fell in love, I got promoted, I lost my darling cat. I learned. I learned about heartbreak and loss, about achievement and boredom and what needing help really looks like. I also learned that I am not a cultivator. I am definitively an explorer, and I benefited from cultivating, but I thrive from adventure. When I need a lesson, my cultivators are there. And when they need a vacation, I’m a different destination away every 12 months. We just need to remember that despite our differences, we’re there to benefit one another.
CollegeCandy is excited to announce that we’ve partnered up with one of our favorite Tumblrs, DateByNumbers, to bring you some of her very best advice. Each week she’ll tackle your questions. Life, love, sex, the real world…nothing will be off limits. To submit a question of your own, visit her “Ask” page and keep an eye on CollegeCandy every Thursday afternoon!