Cheers to Fresh Starts

by Lia
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Featured photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

I’m overwhelmed with change at the moment, but I like it! A month ago, I was laid off from work. Two weeks ago, I moved from sunny Los Angeles to hot-hot-hot Austin. (I never realized I could sweat so much in such a short amount of time outside.) My life has been disrupted in a major way, but I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to hit the reset button and focus my attention and energy on doing those things that truly matter to me — the things that “spark joy” (as Marie Kondo would say).

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

Taking A Gap Year

Many, many years ago while I was solo traveling in Australia, I hopped a bus to Bondi Beach and met a young lady from the UK who was taking a gap year to travel abroad before heading off to university. I had never heard of a gap year before, but she told me that she was spending several months backpacking around the world and volunteering with different social and environmental organizations. She mentioned that taking a gap year before entering university wasn’t unusual where she was from, adding that it was the best way to learn about yourself and discover what you wanted to do before heading off to school.

We had a such a fascinating conversation, and ever since that moment, I’ve always wondered what it would have been like had I taken a gap year after high school to truly explore my interests. Would I have saved myself a bunch of stress and wasted time in college? Maybe. Would I have figured out my career path earlier? Perhaps.

Well, lucky for me, I have an opportunity to take a gap year NOW. Sure, I’m a little bit older — and I guess I’ve had a couple of decades to figure out a few things about myself — but I feel like this is an excellent time to focus on becoming ME. Whoever that turns out to be.

I have a lot of ideas about what I want to do during my gap year, but my primary goal is to nurture my creativity through the pursuit of new ideas and experiences. It’s an intentionally ambiguous goal because I want to allow myself the freedom to find my flow. In other words, I have no process for this. However, what I do know is that my gap year will be driven by two things: curiosity and enthusiasm. What do I want to learn? What excites me?

Starting the Journey

I’m eager to take the first steps on this new path. I won’t lie though… I’m nervous. I’m a Type A person attempting to live a more Type B “in-the-moment” lifestyle. But it’s just this kind of shakeup/challenge that I need.

There’s a famous quote that goes, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Well, there’s no doubt that I’m stepping out of comfort zone — so here’s to being uncomfortable as I embark on this gap year journey!

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