My dad has worked his ass off his whole life. He’ll be 70 this year and can’t wait to retire. He likes working. He likes it because he built something from nothing.
I texted him that I was going to travel for three weeks after I had just quit my job and then across the US for a speaking tour with the USO.
He texted me back “While you’re having fun, I’m busting my ass working. Suppose to be the other way around!”
I didn’t know how to respond to something like that. I knew my dad was joking, but his comment got me thinking about my own purpose and work. For years, I chase the dollar. I took a job at this place and this company in hopes accumulated shares would result in a mass fortune. And then I thought, I could travel the world because I’d have all the money I needed.
I spent days trying to learn as much as possible about my job to reduce the negative emotions I was experiencing, but it just wasn’t enough. And I ignored my emotions continuing to push through and make excuses for what I was feeling. I listened to a podcast to quell some of the fears of enduring this type of grind. But no matter what I did, It just never felt right. I felt like a fish out of the water, and I would always end up wanting to leave.
And recently, I left my day job in pursuit of self-exploration hoping to find my purpose in life. For far too long, the back and forth in my life of why I was at a job and wasn’t writing took control of my everyday experience. I prayed most of the time that I needed just a life changing moment to happen for me, so I didn’t have to worry any longer about my job and how was I going to pay the rent. I could wake up morning like that guy from the movie Office Space and not let anything bother me.
When I left for Europe, I thought I’d lived a thousand lifetimes from the military. The service shaped the way I saw the world and serving in a combat zone, there was no way of changing what I saw of humanity;
War is ugly, the human race is horrific, and hatred is stronger than any other emotion. Three weeks later, I came back changed. My vision on life is now revolving around the amount of good there is despite what I have seen. There are people all around the world who like me are trying to find themselves through discovering this planet. And little did I know how much travel opened me up. It opened me up to trust strangers to help out when I needed to get to place or restaurant to eat. It forced me to put myself out there to share with the world in hopes of learning more about the country and city I was in.
I never believed in just one epiphany that changes a person forever but rather multiple events in our lifetime can have an impact on us. And three weeks traveling in Europe gave me the various moments needed to bring clarity to my life. The most valuable thing this trip gave me was the inspiration to find other places outside of my war experiences to see what other ways I can discover life on the opposite end of the spectrum.