As a child, the dream I had for myself included a loving husband, obedient children, and a home to sleep in at night. For the longest time, I depended on this false reality that I NEEDED this dream to become true in order to be happy. Consequently, The path I chose was followed by actions in pursuit of this dream.

I chose a college I thought would provide me a “good man.” I put my wishes for traveling on the backburner because in this fantasy it was not possible. Then, I waited.

For 6 months, I was having the time of my life. Then 6 months later, things were getting harder, but, “That’s ok. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Right?” But finally, after 14 months of pushing myself to be someone I made up, it was too much. I had a struggle with personal identity and couldn’t figure out what I was going to do next.

I came home from college, no husband, no kids, and absolutely no direction for life.

The turning point was when I started questioning my motives. Did I really want kids? Was a physical house enough to make me feel secure? What would happen if I tried something else? These questions enlightened me to be selfish.

Woooow, I used the word selfish. Why? It’s common to be told never be selfish. Always look to other people’s needs before your own, but why? For 20 years, I acted like the image of selfless. My weekends were volunteered at the church. I played the piano, taught Sunday School, volunteered in the nursing home, and went door-knocking. Secretly, I hated it all. Because of my rigorous schedule, I neglected my own needs. Sleep was cut, work was sloppy, and school was neglected. All I wanted to do was sleep, but I needed to be “selfless.”

Enough was enough. In June of 2017, I finished my last semester of college and set out for my first solo trip. The idea of being alone scared me at first, but after a few weeks, I found it to be freeing. I could do anything with nobody to stop me! There was nobody to question my desires. If I wanted to go on a hike or take a day trip to the beach, I didn’t have to ask anybody. Selfishness healed me.

Eventually, I learned I could do these things on my own. The world is large with so many opportunities! Instead of waiting around for my “chance” I set out for a journey to discover who I was on my own.

What I’m trying to emphasize here is that I’m taking life as it comes. Right now, that means being a single traveler building a life for myself! In the future, who knows what could happen. But I’m no longer depending on a fantasy to get me there. I can tell you that there’s no better way to learn about life and people than to put yourself in a strange place and learn to survive on your own. And that’s what I’m happy doing until it changes.

Next Time,

Merely Melina