Monday, February 15, 2010

Why Must We Go Away to Find Ourselves?

"It seems when we get to a place where no one knows us, we become most ourselves. We try new things, make new friends..."

The phrase quoted above is the beginning of a commercial about Michigan tourism that captures my attention every time I see it. Why is it that it takes for us to go somewhere that no one knows us, for us to truly become ourselves? Think about it. When we go out of town we let our hair down and do things that we would never dare to try at home. Sometimes we do things that we may regret, but for the most part we engage in enriching experiences that we would never afford ourselves at home.

If we practiced such behavior in our everyday lives, or on a more regular basis, imagine how much more exciting and fulfilling life could be. As I look back over my life, I realize that most of the times that I took risks and tried new things that I've always wanted to do, I was somewhere other than here. I was in Toronto when I got my first tattoo. I was in St. Maarten when I tried snorkeling for the first time. It took me traveling all the way to Belize to wear my hair naturally all of the time without worrying about what people thought. I ventured to Japan without knowing the language. I've tried escargot in France. I've climbed the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes near Traverse City, Michigan. While in Mexico, I walked to my desired destinations instead of driving or catching a cab. I dug for diamonds at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.

So then why is it that when I am at home, I live so safely, and comfortably in my own little bubble when in all actuality, this city has so much to offer?

So what is the answer? Do we get away more, or do we make the most of life right where we are?

I saw the movie, "Yes Man" with Jim Carrey while on a flight, and while I went in only expecting to be amused, to my surprise I ended up quite inspired. The character that he played lived life in such a closed off way. When he finally began to say yes to some of the simple things in life, it opened up a whole new world for him. He not only began to try new and exciting things, but he also met new and interesting people, including the love of his life.

It reminds me of a quote that I heard in college that I will never forget...

"Life without risk is risky."

When was the last time you tried something new?

When was the last time you made a friend outside of Facebook or some other online social networking avenue?

Why does it take a completely new environment for us to unleash that which is within us?

As winter slowly folds into spring I challenge you to make the best of what you have and where you are right now. Go for a walk around your neighborhood. Visit a historical landmark in your city. I've lived in Detroit for most of my life and I've never been to Hitsville USA (The Motown Historical Museum) so that is where my journey will begin. I will no longer wait until my next trip to explore me. I'll start right here at home because home is a huge part of who we are, so I can't think of any better place to begin.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post Monica. This quote from the "Pure Michigan" commercial really has made me think about how I've been living my life. So much of our lives are corralled and never really experienced.