Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Responsibility to Explore: Self-Discovery 101

Ann-Marie and I met during Anatomy during our under-grad. She and I would spend hours at Barnes and Noble studying, making flash cards, and quizzing each other. Sidebar – did you know that goose bumps are generated by the flexing of your pilo erector muscles causing your hair to rise? A little fact.

One evening, late last summer, Ann-Marie and I were having dinner and drinks. We were sitting outside, catching up, laughing, and talking about old times. Then the topic came up about “the here and now” – our directions in life – and if we were happy. She was talking to me about making a change in her life. Getting outside the comfort zone and really trying for something – anything – to fuel her spirit, and calm her restless soul. Over the next few months every time we met she was more certain than the last that she was on the verge of making a move that could in fact be the first step to changing her pace, and learning she does have that “fire” inside that cannot be quenched simply by sitting still and watching life pass by. Nope. Not her. She is an inspiration. Truly. In November, I traveled with her six states, and 1800 miles to move her to the sin city of Vegas. And even though she is back in St. Louis, for now, she still continues to amaze me with her jest for life; her gypsy spirit – her eagerness to explore – and her determination to soak up life.

She never allows herself to be limited. She takes road trips on a whim; in fact, less than three months from now she will have visited all fifty states and has a story behind each one of them. She has seen the ball drop in Times Square on New Years Eve. At 3am, on one trip, she began the drive to break “the four corners” monument of Colorado. Was stuck in a blizzard in South Dakota. Saw Brett Favre’s last game as a Packer in Green Bay (and since that is my favorite football team, I am still questioning on friendship on this one – where was my ticket Ann-Marie!?). Accidently got into a Bruce Springsteen Concert in Dallas. And, during Mizzou playoffs, you would have found her in Idaho – where she could not get a flight, so rented a car and took the scenic route. But she is more than adventure – she’s encouragement, inspiration, and conviction bottled in Ann-Marie. She reaches for the unknown, not the expected. She chases thrills and captures memories. She sits on the edge of the Grand Canyon taking in the view, and says to herself – “To think, I could have missed this if I had been too reluctant to get in the car ... and go …”

She is an inspiration to us all to chase our dreams, and follow the path of fulfillment. Today I distribute her piece with you in what I call Self-Disovery, 101–

"Responsibility to Explore: Self-Discovery 101"

It’s safe to say that, as readers of Plan B, we all have a bit of a ‘restless soul’ mentality, meaning we know that life has quite a bit to offer and we recognize that it is our right, maybe even our responsibility, to explore all that we possibly can during our lifetime. And the more we know about ourselves, the greater our chances of manifesting the happiness in our life. Most people would call this “finding yourself”, others would argue that one’s self is created, not found. Regardless, figuring yourself out is something everyone struggles with.

It’s a difficult process because, for the most part, you have to take an autodidactic route. No one can tell you who you are; all anyone else can do is offer you guidance on your self-discovery journey. Because of this, many people wander around lost and unfulfilled. Most just give up – you don’t have to. You deserve a fulfilling life.

With this in mind, I’m urging you to step up to the challenge of discovering yourself. I can guarantee that once you begin this quest, you will not regret it. It may prove to be difficult, it may involve giving something up, it may entail giving more of yourself. Hell, let’s hope that you continue to evolve so that you’re never completely finished uncovering your true self.

So, instead of searching for some miraculous answer to what you are or an all-encompassing label that will define you, head in a direction that brings you joy. Go with what feels best – follow your heart. Take a risk. Try something new. Try something that excites you or try something that terrifies you. Screw the practical and go against the grain! Move to a different city, start that novel, or take a class. Travel (this one’s my favorite!), keep a journal, volunteer. Write some songs, draw a few pictures, whatever. Explore, seek knowledge, chase thrills, just don’t allow yourself to be limited!

You’ll never find anything staying in the same place, doing the same things. Get outside of your comfort zone and you will find that you understand yourself better. You’ll discover new character traits and you’ll realize that you’re more resilient and resourceful than you thought. You have the support of Chrissy, myself, and everyone who reads Plan B. Most importantly, you have yourself – believe in yourself and take some “me” time to get to know yourself.
- Ann Marie

1 comment:

  1. Anne Marie, you are truly an inspiration! Your words and life montra are truly what I hope to become. I will continue to let your words of wisdom, along with Chrissy's and everyone else that puts it out there; let them all sink in and just live the way I want! Not what others think I should live like. Thank you!