“Finding yourself”

chief

Me “finding myself” post-gruelling hike to the top of the Stawamus Chief in Squamish, BC.

Young people—or at least young people of this generation—are conditioned for the desire to “find” themselves. That’s why plenty of young people go backpacking across Europe each year after their high school or post-secondary graduation. Or go on a karmic pilgrimage of spirituality in Southeast Asia. It’s become so common—at least for middle-class, post-secondary-educated-youth—that it’s almost expected of you to embark on this life-seeking trip.

I don’t understand what it means to “find yourself.” I’ve never had trouble figuring out where I am—or who I am, I guess. I know I’m this person with this name and this cultural background. I was born here, raised there, and I underwent X life experiences. I know my likes and dislikes, my strengths and  weaknesses. I can’t say I love everything about myself (who does?), but I have a generally complete idea of who I am. 

I do love travelling though. I love the break it gives me from real life. I love forgetting my responsibilities to just be. I love opening myself up to the new and eat strange foods, go to strange places, and just get lost. Exploration is part of human nature, and the desire to escape makes up a wedge of our instinct.

So instead of “finding myself,” I want to “find other things, other people, other places.” Middle-class, post-secondary-educated young people, for all our knowledge and privilege, tend to be extremely sheltered with a narrow view on the world. What we need is not another excuse to withdraw into ourselves, but to expand beyond the “me”, because there are so many cool and awesome things out there to find.

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6 thoughts on ““Finding yourself”

  1. Pingback: Why I’m not going on exchange to “find myself” | breakfast with words

  2. 😊 I think it’s great you are going to travel! “Finding” ourselves is hard as often we don’t even know what we are looking for. 😊 on a practical level, I really think the root of this phenomenon among post-secondary or post-collegiate youth is somewhat of an indicator that school doesn’t really prepare you for “life after school.” We learn about great leaders, thinkers, scientists, artists, writers and then most of us (well, me anyway) go on to be very ordinary people, working very ordinary jobs. My husband and I traveled for several months five years ago. I hope you enjoy your travels and that they help you continue to see your world with new eyes. 😊

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  3. I felt that I needed to find myself, during and after highschool. I didn’t turn to travel, though, more introspection, art and writing.

    I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t trying to find myself, I was trying to find a way to BE myself; unapologetically.

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    • I would agree that’s how I “find myself” as well—as you can see from this blog 😉 However, sometimes I think I spend way too much time writing/reading/drawing/thinking and what I mean is, sometimes you just need some EXTERNAL stimuli that’s not from your own world, yenno? Anyway, just my personal thoughts 🙂

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  4. All of “me” is in my brain, but my brain happens to be in my body, so travelling is self exploration. Such epic journeys have been a cornerstone of every civilization-whether or not they led to self discovery, such as the grand tours of europe in the 17th century. After all, where did the quest narrative come from? Listening to people’s travel narratives, I think we may be more flexible in our concept of selves than we could ever imagine-love what we hate and hate what we love…It’s when we set ourselves into iron tracks of “I like this and only this or that” that without truly experiencing it that we shut ourselves off from exploration and give an unfair judgement. I’ve never done the chief btw and I said I’ll hate it because it’s touristy, so there you go. 🙂

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