We all crave a sense of belonging, whether it be in your family, friend group, college, workplace, or neighborhood. The ability we have been given to experience this life as we do is an amazing gift which we often take for granted.
But what if you don't feel satisfied where you currently exist?
What if you feel, for some reason, "anywhere else but here" may be better?
What if you feel as if you just don't belong?
These some of the perplexing thoughts that have entered in and out of my mind, day after day, since I was young.
Although I was very fortunately given a comfortable life growing up and a phenomenal support system I am more than thankful for, I'm still occasionally overwhelmed with the curiosity of what it would be like if I grew up elsewhere, or if I was someone else.
No matter your own personal walk of life, I believe these feelings exist in many of us, especially young people. These feelings seemingly weigh even heavier when it's not necessarily practical to just move away and start a new life elsewhere, or travel to your dream city.
I've always dreamed of traveling all over the world. And I know that if I put my mind to it, I can make it happen someday. But what about today? Right now?
If I'm constantly wishing I was somewhere else, how can I ever learn to be content where I currently am?
This is a question that I began to ask myself. As I've grown older, I realize the desire to be elsewhere only attracts misery and negativity to my current state of being. It encourages self-doubt and a pessimistic outlook on my surroundings. This has reoccurred throughout my life, and it definitely hit hard when I started college.
However, I've decided to take a different approach to dealing with these feelings. I recently read a book my dad gave to me a while ago, one that I highly recommend to anyone looking for guidance on finding meaning and purpose in this life.
In "A Man's Search For Meaning," Dr. Frankl writes, "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms — to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." If you haven't read the book, this is one of many insightful remarks written from this man's experience in a concentration camp during the Holocaust.
I love this quote because it constantly reminds me that this life will be what I make it. I don't want to live in misery, or feel sorry for myself, just because I long to be "elsewhere." I get to choose my attitude and mindset about the position I am in and focus on the here and now.
As I change my mindset, I notice a shift in the awareness of my reality as well. Every day holds new opportunities for us as long as we are willing to accept them. If you are constantly focused on where you would rather be, you may miss out what's happening right in front of you.
No matter where you are, find something that you enjoy or excites you. Use a creative outlet, whether it be music, art, or writing. Go out, even when you don't want to. You can even save up money and plan that dream trip. You can choose to let the misery cause you to be despondent and have a dismal attitude towards your surroundings, or you can strive for self-improvement and growth no matter where you are.
I choose the latter.