FINDING YOUR WAY IN THE WORLD
I’ve spent the last 6 years asking questions to people who seem to have found their way in the world. And I’m not sure I can distill it down into any formula. That’s because there really isn’t one.
Half the fun of finding your way in the world is the process of discovering where you ultimately want to go, of living a life filled with whimsy and wild eyed wonder.
If we knew exactly where we were going to end up, it would kind of defeat the purpose of life. If there’s anything people I’ve interviewed have taught me, it’s the profound difference between a life and an existence. The first is deliberate, the second is something that happens by default. It’s easy to confuse the difference between living and waiting to die.
When you’re finding your way in the world, things don’t necessarily go according to plan. I wanted to meet the love of my life, start a family, and have those big ass christmas get togethers with kids screaming, adults drinking, and everybody telling their stories as we sat around the fire. Instead I got to start a company, write books, co-produce an animated series, create a conference, learn to surf and do a lot of other things that weren’t part of my plan. It’s not that these things are mutually exclusive. And it’s not that you wont’ get what you want when you’re trying to find you’re way in the world. It’s just just that it many not happen in the order you think it will.
If we’re not careful we can rob ourselves of the possibility of a life well lived, even if it does seem like it’s occurring out of order or we’re living in reverse. And this isn’t such a bad thing because we get to experience the resurgence of youth as we age when we live in reverse.
I started things when I was older that most people start when they’re young, like surfing. This one thing changed my life so much it’s hard to imagine a time when it wasn’t woven deeply into the fabric of my life. When something becomes such a deep part of the core of your identity, it changes the roads you’ll travel down and people you’ll meet along the way.
- I met one of my best friends and my business partner because of our mutual love for the ocean and our insatiable thirst for waves.
- As silly as it seems, maybe my search for a mermaid (aka surfer girl) isn’t such a ridiculous quest. For all the years I’ve surfed, there’s almost never been somebody waiting on shore (not counting my surfer friends). And perhaps that’s because the person I’m destined to meet wont’ be found on the shore, but in the water. I’ve found everything else there. I’m getting to write a book with a publisher and in some unexplainable twisted way that only makes sense once you’ve found your way in the world, surfing has played its part.
In my life all roads lead to water.
Surfing changes everything in your life in a way that only surfers can understand. To explain it is like trying to explain love to someone who has never been in love.
Words don’t do the feeling justice. You can read about, you can imagine it, but you’ll never truly understand it until you’ve felt lit.
There’s a certain magic in the water. It’s a place where everything is an unknown and anything is possible. It’s a place of tremendous uncertainty. And as my friend Reema says “uncertainty is a form of limitlessness.” The water creates this sense of possibility because there’s always another wave coming, you’ll eventually stop taking waves on the head, and you will stand on your board again. I guess you could say surfing is how I’ve been finding my way in the world.
Here’s what I can tell you about finding your way in the world after the sum of countless conversations and shared experiences with people who never cease to amaze me.
It will require a compass not a map and it will be littered with uncertainty.
You’ll wonder if you should just turn back, and take the well worn path. After all that would be easy, there’s probably a map, and it’s predictable and certain. But you’ll also realize that you couldn’t turn back even if you wanted to. And that’s not YOUR way in the world. It’s somebody else’s plan for where THEY think you should go.
I’m not sure you ever stop trying to find your way in the world. If we arrived, then there would be nowhere left to go. The only place and time in your life when there’s truly nowhere left to go is on your deathbed. Even then you’re hopefully headed for heaven, or being reincarnated as cockroach (depending on the skeletons in your closet).
I’m a week away from submitting my first manuscript to my publisher, feeling nostalgic and reflecting on a 50,000 word journey. And the above are just a few of the spastic ramblings that appeared in my notebook Maybe they’ll help you find your way in the world or at least point you in a direction that does.
I’m the creator of the Unmistakable Creative Podcast. You can subscribe to it via itunes.