If I were to say, describe to me a journey, how would you go about doing so?
If I were to guess, I would imagine some of your journeys would be based on a family vacation you have experienced, pulling from your memory of good times where you felt valued. Some of you might instead talk about a dream you’ve always had, maybe traveling the world, and checking off locations from your bucket list one by one. Others might pull out their favorite book and talk about how every time they skim the pages it seems to take them away from the reality they live. Some might talk about their experiences with drug use and how it was the only time they were able to relax and think about life. What defines a journey for you?
Now what if I were to say drop everything and take yourself on a journey. Would that change your answer? If nothing was holding you back, would what you described still be the journey you chose? If not, why?
As I enter my last semester of both my master’s program and my current assistantship, I often get caught up thinking about what my next journey will be. I consistently get asked what’s the next step, what are your plans after graduation, ready to enter the real world? Most, if not all, are said with good intentions. Most, however, are also just said out of habit. There are so many things that we say and ask just because it has become the social norm. Someone asks you how you are doing, you reply, “hanging in there” and go about your day. Someone says they are graduating in May, we ask “what’s the next step” because it is just the norm…right?
Throughout my graduate program, I have attempted to start a successful blog where I talk about what it means to be a leader, a person, and a successful version of yourself. With some of the posts I have felt really good and felt like I was on my way to a real series of impactful pieces of writings. However, when the next week rolled around, I felt like I was forcing words down on paper and there wasn’t a natural connection from week to week. So, what has been missing? After reflecting on my previous semester and the beginning of “Sundays with You”, I realized that what was missing is what made me feel so good about some of the previous posts: honesty and vulnerability. Throughout the past two weeks I have worked on a proposal for a series of 8 blog posts, one per week, which will focus on self-evaluation, honest inner dialogue, and challenging myself to answer the question, “am I ready?”. For those of you who might think that is pretty vague, perfect. My hope is that the conversations with myself throughout this series will allow you to address whatever it is that might be your next journey and if you are taking steps to be ready for that journey. After all, none of us can be leaders to others until we are our own leader ready to tackle this thing we call life.
So now, if I were to ask you if you were ready for your next journey, how would you respond? Would you imagine a beautiful location, your class on Monday morning, or the next step in your professional career? Would you question what I meant by a journey or would you immediately begin thinking about everything you would need to do before you could go on a journey? For me, the best part of a journey has always been that you don’t have to be sure. You can be as spontaneous as you’d like or plan it out for months; it’s whatever works for you. I have always felt like I was a bit too in the middle of needing to be a “planner” and wanting to be spontaneous to the point where I just get too in my head and end up staying home and diving further into my career. It’s always the perfect storm that adds up to me not being ready for my next journey, regardless of how I want to frame it. When facing this reality, I have realized that the question can no longer be “what is your next journey” but instead, “are you ready for your next journey”. For some, this question might seem challenging or not in line with the “norm” of communicating with others. My answer to that will always be so what? What is so wrong with breaking the walls of comfortability and letting down your guard to yourself?
Throughout this series, I challenge you to drop all walls and remind yourself that you have no reason to defend yourself, from yourself. With each topic every week, I will be discussing a different step that I feel like I need to take to be ready for my next journey. Maybe you will relate directly, maybe you will not. Whether you are job searching, preparing for what life will be like after college, or trying to decide on your next personal steps, I hope these discussions will be beneficial regardless. There is no one set game plan that each of us can take to self-evaluate where we are at in life and what we want from our own life. What we can do, however, is communicate and help others when they might not be able to currently help themselves. Life is a relay; we all play a part in it and in no way can it be done alone.
I wish I could tell you what next week’s topic will be, but I honestly don’t know yet. Maybe, that will be what makes this series so special. In my proposal I included topics such as personal goals, professional goals, support systems, aspirations, inner dialogue, motivations, fear, among others. Each week I hope will bring me closer to one topic and that is what will be discussed. Is there any topic you would like to hear about that would be beneficial for you when trying to decide if you are ready for your next journey? If so, drop a topic in the comments.
As always, thank you for letting me spend this Sunday with You. Looking forward to the journey.
-Colin Lane Croat