My friend called me at 1 am last night on his walk back to his new apartment in a new city.
We talked for an hour while he explained to me how incredible he felt for taking a chance and moving to a brand new place, all by himself, where he didn't know anyone. He's working for a company he never imagined working for and starting his life all over again.
He explained how it was different this time, as opposed to the last time he moved 45 minutes away from his hometown to his college: “These people don’t know anything about me. They don’t know that I like piano or traveling or anything. They don’t have anyone from my past telling them who I was or who I am. It’s scary.”
As I sat there, I realized that he truly believed in his mind that he was a pioneer. He believed he was the first person and the only person who had done this or who was feeling the way he was.
I didn’t say anything, but I wanted to remind him I had done the same thing and felt the same feelings he's currently feeling, but instead of going through it at 23, I had gone through it at 17. I packed up my bags and moved to a state where I didn't know anyone, changed my name and started college with a clean slate and a similar story.
While my friend continued talking, he told me again and again how big of a deal what he's doing really is, and how I probably can't understand exactly how he feels.
I wanted to tell him that if I could do it at age 17, I hope he's able to do it at 23. I wanted to explain to him that it really wasn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of life and the opportunities it holds. However, something stopped me from doing anything but listening, and it was then that I realized a few things:
Everyone goes through it.
There comes a point in everyone's life where they decide to take a leap of faith based on nothing but a gut feeling. It happens to everyone at different times throughout life, but nonetheless, it always happens.
This is not to say that we all realize it as we go through it, but there will come a day when you realize you took a chance and you survived. You will look back on who you were then and who you are in the moment, and you will begin to feel empowered and realize you can do whatever you set your mind to.
That millisecond of realization is what takes us from naïve children to adults. Instead of looking at the rest of the world with fear, we look at it with aggressive passion. We feel as though we can take on any issue because what is harder than starting over from scratch? Nothing.
In the moment of the struggle, we are so focused on the end goal that we forget to reflect and look back on all we have accomplished. That second we look back and go, “Wow, I really did all of that? I must be worth something,” is the moment we break out of our shells and cross the line into adulthood.
We all have different paths, different goals and different lives.
When it comes down to it, every single one of us at some point takes a huge leap of faith. Maybe it’s in our teens, our 20s or in our 50s, but inevitably, it always happens. And at some point along our personal journey, we stop, reflect and realize how big of a change we made and how big of a change we can make on the world.
Our self worth suddenly shoots through the roof and we might even believe that no one will ever understand the struggle we went through to overcome that huge leap. We walk around explaining to people that they will never understand what we went through, but at some point, they will.
As the enlightened ones, our job is not to judge them, preach to them, try to knock them down or try explaining any of this to them. Our job, when they do hit that stage of enlightenment, is to smile, listen and welcome them with open arms.
Because the people who feel empowered enough to change the world are the ones who do.
Photo via We Heart It