Does it not seem that the older we get, the more we search?
In our adolescence, the only question we truly care about is “Why?”
“Why is the sky blue?”
“Why do hot dogs come in packages of 8 but hot dog buns come in packages of 12?”
“Why can’t I have this?”
“Why can’t I go do this with my friends?”
“Why do I need to know the atomic mass of Astatine?”
“Why do I have to do this?”
Eventually, we expand our vocabulary and raise new questions like, “Who?”,”What?”, “When?”, “Where?”, “How?”
We take in the world around us with these questions and then begin to wrestle with concepts of love, hate, compassion, cruelty, happiness, sadness, passion, indifference.
It’s happened with all of us.
I became (and still am) fixated to answer these questions in my own life. These questions gripped me so tightly that at some point I had to drop everything and leave. I had to leave my childhood home, I had to leave some friendships behind, I had to leave potential romantic relationships, I had to leave Tulsa.
I had to leave behind my old life of stagnation and comfort for something alien and new.
So I did.
I moved halfway across the world in hopes of finding answers that would satisfy my being.
It so happened that this place would be Italy and I would come to call it home for six months.
I flourished with the opportunities to travel around Europe for six months with no job, no car, hell not even a phone. My traveling was often done independently, and at times, I was without anyone to call a friend.
I was alone.
My first true experience of loneliness happened in Barcelona, Spain but it would not be the last.
I ventured into many different countries with eagerness and wonder. I have felt excitement and happiness that climbs past the tallest mountains and I’ve felt the sadness of the deepest trenches in the ocean. I’ve felt accomplishment at the top of mountains I’ve hiked and I’ve felt helplessness out at sea in Spain, or at 4 AM in Munich with no map or phone trying to get to the airport.I valued every moment of it and it changed me through and through.
Yes, I’ve been blessed to have been able to travel so freely and openly without reservation.
And yes, I have been extremely blessed to have the support of my family and friends back home. But that period of my life has come to a close (for now) and I have returned to the States. But the person sitting here writing this is no longer the same person who left. While I have answered some questions from my time away, I’ve come back with more.
“Do others around me grasp the magnitude of the world existing outside this campus?”
“Have they ever considered how routine their lives are at times?”
“Do they see a value in themselves outside of their own major? God, I hope they do not identify themselves solely through their major”
“How did I last so long in college (and now) putting up with such petty and trivial bullshit?”
It seems as if questions only lead to more questions.
For now, traveling is my best suggestion to anyone looking to answer these questions in your own life.
but does the searching ever end?