So, You Want to Conquer the World…

There’s no denying it’s always been a dream of yours, since you sat near the fire in your grandfather’s living room, spinning the globe in your tiny fingers, as he told stories of the ancients: of war, of peace, of colonization, of culture. Wide-eyed and curious, you began to yearn to venture past the places you’d been raised.

You took the risk 11 months ago almost to the day, to pack up your life, move 3,000 miles away from 99% of everyone and everything you know, with no set place to live, no job, planning to go to graduate school. In the past 11 months, you’ve made a new life for yourself, and it’s been beautiful, but it’s also been excruciatingly difficult at times, to reconcile leaving the people and places you’ve always known, with beginning anew. It seems while falling into the rhythms of a new life, you’ve forgotten something…something you have been swiftly, repeatedly and achingly reminded of.

In the past week, you’ve lost one of your closest childhood friends who had been in a coma for five months, a result of a drug overdose. In the past 11 months since you’ve moved across the country, you’ve had countless messages from home of heart-wrenching news that cast a cloud over your subconscious.

In the past month you’ve moved into a new apartment, steps from the ocean. You’ve started waking up earlier just to have a little more time in your day. You’ve had a few visitors in town who have shifted your perspective, You’ve made new friends. Your first semester of graduate school has ended and you’ve been doing a lot of thinking…

You realize you’ve been doing so much thinking and so little writing. Sometimes it happens that way–it’s like you have to make sure you really feel something most-fully before you let it out. While getting dizzy in the maze of your thoughts lately, you’ve had time to reflect–

You have discovered a tremor starting to rise beneath the surface…

This is not because you are unhappy. This is not because you feel are making any grave mistakes.

This is because while you are fulfilling your goals and living one of your biggest dreams, you need to continue to fulfill your biggest goal of all:

You’ve wanted to travel more than anything, to experience and learn about the world as much as possible, but the thought that keeps reverberating within you is how you much you don’t know at all. You yearn for uncertainty and adventure, and lately you’ve been reminded of the very temporary nature of every situation.

But there’s one problem…

You also want the graduate degree, you want the career, you want stability. You long to start paying off your student loans and to have an income that can allow you to see the world. You might want to teach abroad, to be a travel writer– one day. You feel that right now, the most important thing is absolutely to get your master’s degree.

But there’s one problem...

There are so many problems– like living with the delusion that the only way to get anywhere is to follow a set path and to never stray from it. There are so many problems with wanting to see the world and wanting to learn more about so many things, but instead, limiting yourself.

There are so many problems when people you grew up with are stuck in your hometown, feeling as though they have no way out, leading themselves to believe that the only way is through drugs, oftentimes leading them out of this world far too early.

There are so many problems…

There are so many lessons they could have learned. There are so many more beautiful, wonderful, terrifying and mysterious things they had yet to discover.

You hold the memory of them close to your heart and every day you are reminded of your precious vitality and your fragile mortality.

You realize you owe it to the people you love, the people you’ve lost and the people you have yet to meet to become the best version of you possible, and that is never complete. Just because you’ve completed a few steps of your journey does not mean you are finished.

So, you want to conquer the world…

And you will, in time, but the time to start is now.

You just have to believe you can do it. You don’t only have to fulfill one goal, one path…  You can veer off at any time and head into the wilderness. You can take a detour. The time for you is now. Take a few days, find the time to get off of work and go somewhere completely new. Save up the money and take a month, or two, or three, live simply and cheaply and travel across the country while you can.

Our time here is not guaranteed. The happenings in your life and those around you will only continue to make you increasingly aware of that.

Live like you want in this moment. The desk job with benefits will still be there, waiting when (and if) you are truly ready to settle. For now, be wild while you can.

You can lie out in the middle of the desert at twilight and wonder why it took you so long to find your way to the stars, unobstructed by city lights. You can climb to the top of any mountain and stare in wonder at the land below, the expansive universe that surrounds you. You can find your place. You can find yourself.

So, you want to conquer the world: you must begin with yourself, and the time for you is now.

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