It's been a while since my last post on the topic, so I figured I give some sort of status update. While things are not 100% set and obvious yet, I feel a sense of clarity and comfort that I haven't felt in a while. I'd like to share what led to this.
College and especially my vow to enjoy my last year in its fullest have definitely been a major contributing factor for my well-being. I have gained a lot from focusing on enjoying life now rather than later and avoided unnecessarily worrying by disregarding the supposedly harsh real life after college. Instead, I'm taking diverse classes in philosophy, psychology, arts, etc., playing on 8 intramural teams and just generally doing whatever I want.
However, the biggest inflection point has been on my trip home to Germany in February, when I snagged an error fare from NYC to Milan for $240 round trip. Without going into unnecessary detail, something happened that jeopardized the whole trip that included a magnificent train ride through the Alps (besides obviously haven't seeing my family and friends in months). The rational/popular thing would have been to just cancel the trip, especially since people thought I was stupid enough for taking off 2 weeks of school.
However, I decided to still go which was not an easy decision to make. Only moments later I got a snapchat questioning my decision which wasn't really helpful either. But the moment I sat on the train from Tirano to Ospizio de Bernina surrounded by 10+ feet of snow, I knew I did the right thing. There wasn't a place elsewhere in the world I'd rather be right now and let me tell you, that feeling is priceless.
It was this moment, that I found what I have been looking for all along. It wasn't some calling, it wasn't some special view on life, it was simply about being confident in yourself, your choices and knowing what you want.
In my last post I attributed my anxiety to a paralysis of choice. In hindsight, I always had an idea of what my choice would ultimately be and the cause was not necessarily (only) the diversity of choice, but also the difference to the mainstream choice that made it so difficult. I think I knew the life I wanted to have, but being sure about it was very hard, especially if anything you want to do does not fit the mainstream narrative of happiness and success and the means of achieving such.
Over the years, I've found that the best advice is the worst/hardest to follow. This is one is about ignoring what the world thinks of you, listening to your heart, surrounding yourself with people who accept you the way you are and doing what you want to do. I know this sounds like your typical teenage girl inspiration board. But it's true.
I've had this habit of being jealous of people who would be better than me at a particular thing. I would eventually always meet a better soccer player, a smarter chemist, a more productive coder, a more awesome traveler. There were always people who were cooler, richer, more popular, more attractive, etc. Something about their life just seemed better. However, once I realized that I would never ever want to be them, none of that stuff mattered. I'm not someone who is the best at one thing, I'm great at a number of things, that's who I am. What has helped a lot to reach my "enlightenment" is to know that you wouldn't want to be anyone else, you wouldn't want to have it any other way.
My passion is not some career goal or change in the world, some level of success or popularity, some activity I want to do for the rest of my life. It's not about results or achievements, it's all about the journey. It's about a set of true values and principles I want to live by. It's about doing things I want to do, and not doing things I don't want to do. Opting for new experiences. Ignoring beliefs/opinions that I can't do something. Living now and not in the some hypothetical future. Achieving myself and not my life. No excuses.
My passion is to live my life to its fullest. And right now, my life is pretty awesome (for which I'm suuuuuppperrr thankful but that's the topic for another post).