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.