The only true voyage of discovery…would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them beholds, that each of them is… – Marcel Proust
Everyone has a story. A journey they are on. Sometimes it’s known. Sometimes we don’t even realize we are traveling until we look back and see how far we have come.
The start of my journey was a farm outside a small town in Nebraska. From there to university in the capitol city, then to a college in downtown Chicago, then to Cambodia, and back to Nebraska.
Living in different city sizes and different countries, experiencing career changes, all shaped my perspective on life and people. I’ve always been curious; I usually have a question. I love the challenge of learning new things and changing because of it. The more I grow, the more I differently view the world around me, and the more questions I have, and the more I want to learn…..and the cycle continues.
My birthday challenge to myself last year was to record 5 new things each month for the next year: skills learned, experiences, places visited, whatever. Just something new.
It seemed like a big deal that was going take some time and energy and money and planning BUT every month I surpassed 5 with little effort. And what I discovered: I didn’t have to Plan For New Things; I changed how I saw my daily life. That perspective change grew my gratitude for my everyday life, which didn’t have big, amazing, expensive experiences. A few of my new things this month: new app on my phone, read a new book, tried cold brew coffee, made a new friend, found 2 new podcasts (recommendations below), and tried a new hairstyle.
This is why the above quote is one of my favorites. Although I have traveled, and love to travel, physically going to another, even exotic, place doesn’t necessarily change you. What changes you is how you see life. Your perspective. How you see others. How you want to not just see them differently but then see how they see the world.
So, as a white American living in a predominantly white city, I challenge myself to try to see life through the eyes of those experiencing discrimination, of immigrants and refugees, of people who are disadvantaged, and those for whom life has been hard in ways I have not experienced.
You can’t change course without creating some waves. Personal change will have a ripple effect in your family and circle of friends. Some may embrace it; some may feel threatened by it. Remember that an end to something is the beginning of a new thing. Embrace the chaos of change and you will not regret your growth.
The best is yet to come!