In Learning from Legends

I chose this month’s book club selection, The Lost Girls, because lately we’ve been talking about “taking action” to change the aspects of our lives that make us unhappy. For Jen, Holly, and Amanda, that aspect was their all-consuming media jobs in NYC and the action they took was a one-year 60,000 mile journey around the globe to “figure out it all out.”

“When we’d first started plotting this adventure nearly two years earlier, the three of us – friends in our mid-twenties – had shared the desire to take a giant step away from our own goal-oriented worlds to get a better sense of who we were – and what we really wanted from our lives. Up until then, we’d successfully hit the milestones that are supposed to give young women a sense of purpose: Moving away from Mom and Dad. Graduating from college. Getting our first jobs. Falling in love.

But as we rocketed toward the next major stage (the one involving mortgages, marriages, and 2.2 children), we all wondered: Were the paths that we were heading down the right ones for us – or were we simply staying the course because we thought we should? Was the road most frequently traveled the one that we wanted to follow?”

The thing that always strikes me about these self-discovery journeys is how “far-fetched” they are often viewed by other people. Even the dedication page reads, “To our parents, for always supporting us on our journeys, no matter how far-fetched or far-flung.”

Why is the desire to discover yourself through traveling far-fetched? We saw the same type of reaction to Sean Aiken’s The One-Week Job Project. Why is it so unthinkable that a young man might want to explore numerous job options before blindly settling on one that he’s going to pursue for the rest of his life?

When I think of how many people are unhappy in their jobs or marriages, it seems to me that these types of journeys should be supported, encouraged even.

What do you think? Self discovery journeys: fantastic or far-fetched?

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