Defining Myself

Lillie Mayfield - Ecuador


July 18, 2013

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received was from my father. When I was young he told me, “Don’t ever be afraid to ask questions.”  As a child I was so enlightened by this statement that I proceeded to harass my elementary teachers with every “why” and “how” question I could think of.

While I may have gone a little overboard with the questions, still, to this day, I believe that knowledge is best gained face to face through discussion and inquiry, and I am still just as curious and eager to learn. This coming year in Ecuador is the ultimate “face to face” encounter–8 months without my family and friends, in a foreign country, speaking a foreign language–and I can’t wait. 

I went to high school in Maine, but I was raised in the rural south and I still retain some of the southern mentality I have learned from my family: kind to a fault, God-lovin’, and maybe a little too dependent on comfort food.  My family and friends have raised me to be the person I am today and I am so thankful.  The thing is, (don’t take this the wrong way) I’m so ready to be away from all of them for a year!

It’s not that I don’t love you all–it’s going to be really hard being so far away from everyone; I just need to discover Lillie- as Lillie, by Lillie, for Lillie.  I wanted to take gap year because I don’t really know what I want to be, much less who I really am.  I need this time alone to discover my place, not only within my friends and family, but also within the world.

My father’s quote will always have a place in my book, but it’s this quote by Jane Goodall which inspires me today: “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

My greatest desire is to positively impact the world, and my first step is to determine what kind of difference I can make- within Ecuador, and within every day of my life. The goal for this year is simple: define Lillie.

Lillie Mayfield