A good friend of mine is currently participating in an amazing program in which he is networking with entrepreneurs and all around awesome people in Santiago, Chile for three months. The purpose of the program is more or less to teach people how to live life on their own terms, financially and otherwise….sort of like a Master’s degree in autonomy. There was a suggested reading list of about 20 books for the aforementioned course and my friend was gracious enough to send it over to me. I have really enjoyed going through the material.
One of the suggested readings on my friend’s list is “Self Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Though I have read this particular piece before, it struck a new chord with me this time around. When I decided to quit my job in Chicago and travel to Korea to teach English, I experienced some of the most difficult moments in my life, emotionally. I was excited as hell for the next chapter of my life and anxious to continue on in pursuit of my passion. The people close to me, however were a huge source of pain. Never in my life had I experienced so much criticism from family and friends. Nonetheless, I carried on and one year later I am excited to report that I am happy as ever.
Some of the things I heard from people close to me when I decided to come to Korea was that switching jobs so many times “doesn’t look good on a resume” and that I should “stick it out for a couple more years” in my current situation because I had something “good going.” The thing is, I’ve never been one for settling and I guess I just don’t view the world the same way as many of my peers. Everything I have done up until this point in my life, I have looked at as a stepping stone to where I am ultimately trying to get, all the while enjoying the ride I am on until I get wherever my next few destinations in life may be. I have taken bits and pieces from everything that I have done and I feel closer than ever to discovering what it really is that makes me “tick.” After all, life is for the living, right? I think good ole Ralph sums up what I am trying to say pretty nicely in the following excerpt from “Self Reliance”:
“A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in successive years, and always like a cat falls on his feet, is worth a hundred of these city dolls. He walks abreast with his days and feels no shame in not “studying a profession,” for he does not postpone his life, but lives already.”
Anyone considering moving in a new direction with their lives should absolutely do it. There is so much more to be lost by not pursuing the things that you know deep down in your soul you are meant to pursue. If you haven’t found what you’re looking for, keep going. Gain everything that you can from whatever it is you do and never stop L I V I N G.