In a way, we are all trailblazing through life. We are creating paths that have never been traveled before. While we learn from lessons and listen to the guidance of those older than us, the fun part of living is learning and trailblazing.
The other day I was walking down the street, and I thought to myself, “I want to grow up.” It was an odd thought. I am growing up, but after thinking for a second I realized it wasn’t what I meant. What I meant is that I want to grow up on my own terms now. I want to take the lessons and the guidance, and finally ‘blaze my own trail.’ Not a trail that someone thinks I should follow, but a path that is just mine. One that I will look back with pride, head-shaking at my errors, and go, “That was MY life.”
It’s Not Easy
Trailblazing isn’t easy. What is easy is people-pleasing. This is to follow every rule given to you, take the easy path, not the right one, and do things to make everyone around you happy. But then what? You live for someone else (or many others) and then you die? Is that really the life you want for yourself? Maybe your answer is yes, and if that’s the case, then that’s your choice.
However, I’m here today to challenge you. Take a moment and look at your life. Think about your hobbies, your schooling; maybe you think about the career you have or the people in your life. What experiences have you had for you? What experiences have you lived (or tried) for someone else? Of course, trying new things is important and some people can open our eyes to new experiences and behaviours, but after the initial experience, I think it’s important to ask yourself, “Does this align with my values? Is this a part of my trailblazing experience?”
My Major Moments
I was thinking today about some major moments in my life. My real ‘trailblazing’ experiences. These were huge turning points for me and maybe you can relate to a couple of them:
- I traveled solo. Obviously this one isn’t as easy right now, but my Contiki trip of 2015 was life-changing. Beyond the unique experience of other countries, it was during this time that I truly realized how much I value experience over materialistic things. While on this trip, I also started journaling and have journaled ever since. As soon as you’re able to do so (safely), do a trip for you. Even start now and grab a cabin for a weekend, solo. Spend time alone. Learn to enjoy your company. In doing so, you’ll learn that being alone doesn’t necessarily mean being lonely.
- I embarked on a spiritual journey. This one might be a little woo-woo for you or perhaps it is up for interpretation. Maybe you’re religious or maybe you’re a yogi. Perhaps relaxing baths speak to your soul? Whatever it means to you, find that and keep running with it. For me, it’s self-help books and I’m not ashamed to say so. I don’t know why we poo-poo self-help books; they open your eyes to new things and sometimes reinforce the things we already know. I just recently finished Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis and I highly recommend it.
- I told the truth. There is a person I once respected. Unfortunately, I disrespected them in possibly one of the highest regards. And, regardless of how the truth was perceived, I told them a hard truth. I told the truth because I needed to align with my values and cleanse myself of guilt. Sometimes a lie is easier when a conversation is tough, but when I told the truth, I realigned myself and have been able to move forward with a clean conscious that no one was in the dark anymore. I chose the hatred and the dirty looks because I knew I deserved it.
- I moved. To some, the optics are questionable. I don’t care. Those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter. It was one of the biggest risks I have taken in my life and I couldn’t be happier. Not only am I trailblazing my life, but I’m literally trailblazing now. To those who say that it’s just geography and that happiness comes from within, you’re half right. If you’re looking for geography to bring you happiness, it won’t work. However, if you’re happy inside, and then you find the geography that speaks to your soul? Do it and do it now.
Blaze Your Trail
Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s not. It can be very small or incredibly drastic. The most important part is that it is for you. I’ve realized that under the hard shell of an independent, strong woman, I’ve actually been a soft-shelled people-pleaser in so many ways.
Not now and not ever again. Will I compromise? Yes. Will I embark on new experiences that were the suggestion of someone else? Quite possibly. But will I ever sacrifice MY growing up for someone else? Hell no.
This is me and this is my trail. Embrace yours, because we only get one trip around the sun. 🙂