As children, we mostly take things at face value and happily bumble our way through adolescence. Not I. I was not a passive observer. I questioned, probed, wanting to know the why. My intense quizzical nature came because I sensed that there was more to life than what was presented before me.

I was raised to avoid the uncomfortable. When I spoke up, I was quickly muted. Having emotions was not an option. Failure was not an option. There was this underlying pressure to perform. To present me in an image expected of those in our circle.  

My identity was determined through status symbols and in order to maintain it facades occurred. It became apparent that one can easily mask behaviors and emotions behind shiny things. And when those shiny things were deemed a pinnacle of a great life, I knew I wanted out. I could not identify with any of it.

My values did not align. Not only was it not fulfilling, but it didn’t sit well with me.

I felt lost, disconnected. I didn’t want to spend my life chasing a mirage of happiness.

Dedicating my life to moving up the socio-economic ladder held no value.

As my teenage years moved on, I was in desperate need of an outlet where I could grow, where I could state opinions, explore different aspects of my personality without limitations. I wanted to be authentic, not a cookie cutter version of what was required.     

I knew there was a bigger plan for my life, so when I turned 18, I gave myself permission to live. Permission to see what was beyond. And for me to seek this out, I felt the need to move. That by removing myself from the comforts of life, I could better explore who I wanted to be.

Although my first experience away from home was to California for college, a short flight away, I had the freedom to navigate this chapter on my own. No distractions, no blockage, no one telling me how I should be. I learned to adult on my own terms. Liberating myself from the confines of what I was used to opened my eyes to a whole new way of life.

Therefore I was eager to see more, learn more, and envelope myself in other surroundings. So upon graduation, I moved further. 

I worked hard to save money so that two weeks after I completed my final exam I grabbed two duffle bags and with a work holiday visa landed in London on Christmas day. Eight months of European exploration connected me to the world in a whole new way. I met others from differing countries, political and economic situations and learned a great deal about myself in the process.

These eight months abroad satisfied my soul that for the following four years I explored more of myself by attending more schooling in Los Angeles and taking advantage of work holiday visas in New Zealand and Australia.

Looking back at my teenage years when I was determined to map my own course and now seeing where I am today, I am so forever thankful that I had the wherewithal to look ahead. Although my life is still and will always be a work in progress, if it wasn’t for that tenacious restless kid with an inner passion to want more, I don’t know where I would be today.