Imagine you had nowhere to be. Nothing to get done. This is how I spent many of my days in the past year and a half. Traveling alone abroad. Moving to a new city on the west coast. Coming back home after realizing it was not right. Time in between jobs. Months at a time. Time to just be 100% with myself.

I realized how tied I had been to my job as my identity. I realized how much the people I surrounded myself with dictated who I was and how I spent my time. I realized that underneath the girl with the jam packed social calendar and non stop tech career, there was so much more.

I broke down (like major break down). I broke through.

I realized how far we all are from treating our own selves they way we deserve to be treated. I realized many of us live lives that we consider to be safe and in control. There are so many different people in this world who live vastly varying lifestyles. However, you won’t know this if you are not exposed to it.

In the past year, I met a 40 year old woman who works seasonally in a luxury lodge in Alaska and earns enough money so that she can travel the rest of the year. Oh and she had a 25 year old boyfriend. I met many people who were traveling until their money ran out. I met a guy in Thailand who was from Brooklyn and met the love of his life while on the trip and brought her back with him to New York. I met a couple from Norway. The woman was taking her maternity leave abroad with her baby. I look for these stories everywhere I go. Early last year, I met a photographer who was in town for a job, but about to leave to go back to Europe for his next project. We bonded over feeling like we didn’t have a true home at the moment. I said to him, “Gotta live this lifestyle while we can right? Before we have to settle down..” To which he said back, “Actually, I hope to always live this way.”

We all have opinions on what “living your best life” looks like. We all have opinions on other people and may even believe that they are not happy, or lost, or ridiculous if they live life in a way that feels “unsafe” to us. Like we are doing it right. Like we know what’s best for them. When in actuality, there is so much that people do not share. There is so much to shatter and break through. If you go one of those unconventional routes, what are people saying about you when you leave the room?

In this life, we seek purpose. We confuse sex for love. We half listen. We are human. Can’t we be so much more human than this?

What if happiness looks different for me than it does for you? I define happiness as the elimination of stagnation. As progress. As new beginnings. As understanding. As becoming the most me I can possibly become. Living in a way that feels good to me. As trying. As learning. As expanding. As digging.

Who are you when you take off your masks? Who are you without your defenses and your shpeals? Who are you without all of the ways you numb yourself? When you’re not relevant? When you’re weak? When you’re at a low point? Who are you when you fail?

Life is about how you move and flow and respond and remember. Let go of how you’ve been conditioned to anticipate what should happen or how it should go.

Be true. Be who you are.

Originally published at