I recently came across an old journal entry from when I was 19 years old. At this point of time, I was an overly cautious, somewhat anxious 19 year old with very little travel experience. I had graduated from high school, aka the bubble that I lived in, along with my friends, for many years. I was suddenly aware that there was more to life than what I was doing, and that a large part of that was travel. Travelling seemed like an exciting, but absolutely terrifying idea. I was one of the people who mentally made pro/con lists for everything. I wondered about the “what ifs” of everything. So here’s a flashback to the some of the rambling thoughts of a 19 year old.
“I live a safe life.”
“If it’s true that we are born as a blank slate – then what is it in life that makes so many of us so unsure of ourselves? I can’t find any fault in the way my parents raised me. I have great parents, great friends, and I’m able to do the things I love. But I’m hesitant. I step right up to that line to cross it, but I hesitate, right there in front of that line. For whatever reason – I can’t cross it.”
“I feel like, to step out of my boundaries and cross that line, I need to get away from the life that I’ve spent 19 years living in. I need to experience new things.
“I really haven’t traveled that much. But now I’m feeling, cornered. Stuck. Like I’ve been living in a bubble my entire life.”
“Maybe instead of just crossing the line, I’m going to cross over an ocean. One big step, but maybe that’ll be what it takes to get me out of my shell. Learn to be independent.”
The years went by, and I carried on with my journaling, but very rarely mentioned travelling again. The odd comment about wanting to go work and ride (horses) abroad in Australia or Germany (but I was never brave enough to take a chance), a few musings about doing a semester abroad (but reluctant to take longer to finish my degree when I was already “behind” in my mind), the occasional realization that all of my friends were travelling while I was not.
I find it interesting, however, to look back at those words and remember that 19 year old girl who was so desperate to be brave and adventurous and go somewhere else in the world. It took me many years to work up the courage to cross that invisible line I had drawn for myself, and over an ocean (other than the one to Hawaii), and some wonderfully persistent friends who wanted me to be their travel buddy. I wasn’t scared to travel. I was scared of new things. A fear of the unknown, or, in psychology terms, an intolerance to uncertainty.
Now, fast forward nine years, I’ve learned to live outside my comfort zone. It’s far more fun to cross that line and cross an ocean (or a border, or even just a street!) instead of thinking about it. I am far from wise, but the wisdom I have gained in eight years is enormous when I think of my 19 year old self. Oh.. the things I would tell myself!
26 Quotes For My 19 Year Old Self.. coming next!