I'm Feeling 22: Why Youth Is About The Journey, Not The Destination

by Hillary Bautch

I am a 22-year-old woman literally and metaphorically stumbling through life. In no time at all, I will graduate from college and be thrown into the "real world." (Thankfully, the “throwing” is strictly metaphorical, but there is a good chance I will land on my ass.)

In this real world, is there ever a time we're 100 percent content with where we are and what we've accomplished?

Is there ever a time when we feel like we've finally "made it;" we've reached our destination?

Like others my age, I have so many dreams, I can’t even count them all. But, even now, sitting in my messy college apartment, I can picture how I want my life to look.

I’ll have a cute beach house with a big porch in the back that has French doors connecting it to the rest of the house. In the morning, I will wake up and drink my coffee to the sound of waves crashing.

At night, the people I love will surround me. There will be fabulous food and delicious wine, and I will never have to wear shoes or close the windows.

This is a happy place; a safe space. Those I love can gather to share laughs, tears or stories that have been told too many times, yet never get old.

I’ll have a tiny dog that follows me everywhere I go, and all of my dishes will finally match. I can exist in this world that I've created for myself in complete and utter happiness.

So, how do we get to this place? My mom always told me the journey is the destination, but is it?

Do we spend so much time focusing on the next step, the next move or even tomorrow that we lose sight of our end goal? If we spend all of our time focusing on the end goal, will life happen right before our eyes? Will we blink and miss it?

Sure, I have goals for my future, both short- and long-term. I can tell you everything from my dream job to the type of dog I want, but life is so much more than that. I want to be completely independent and happy being on my own.

I want to be that girl who moves across the country post-grad just because she can. I want to make spectacular memories, new friends and reckless decisions.

So, what’s a girl to do? Is there ever a right answer? Maybe there is no destination at all. Maybe we spend so much time worrying about the good and bad between the journey and the destination that our heads are constantly spinning.

We’re constantly told we need to have a plan and a purpose, but when does what we’re doing in the moment become enough?

Here’s what I do know: I’m only 22. College is coming to an end. I am entering this mysterious world, and I have no idea where I’ll be, what I’ll do or if I will ever find a “real” job. Yes, that scares the hell out of me, but it’s okay. I’m only 22.

I don’t need my dream home, my dream job or even my dream man. It’s okay to be single and carefree and not have a worry about anyone but myself. I’m stubborn, selfish and, at times, a little crazy. That’s okay, too.

I think I’ve decided the journey isn’t the destination; the journey is just the journey.

I want to travel the world as far and wide as possible — that’s a journey. I want to learn how to do my laundry without turning my whites pink — that’s a journey. I want to be there to hold my little sister’s hand when she gets her heart broken for the first time — that’s a journey.

Goals and dreams will happen when they happen. For right now, I’m only 22. My journey is simply living.