As of a few days ago, I have been in Ecuador for five months, or about 8% of my teenage life. Now, I can’t tell you that this time has flown by or seemed to drag on. That would be a far too “clean cut” view of the year, and clean is something this time has most definitely not been (in every sense of the word). You see, I don’t feel like a new man. Sure I know I have changed, but when I sit here, in the debacle of life and in all its ups and downs, nothing seemed “clean cut”. In many ways I think this is good, a sort of rattling of my cage, a questioning of myself, my morals, and my view of everything. The only way I can think of describing it is this: imagine being out in the ocean and paddling across the surface of the water on a clear sunny day, feeling in control and confident. Then a set of huge waves roar through, throwing you under water. Sure, you know something has most definitely changed. Big waves keep hitting you, the ocean tosses you, shaking away that feeling of comfort and control. You are changed, as you find new gratitude for oxygen, which you took for granted just seconds ago, but mostly you’re just trying not to panic.
I have had so many big waves hit me this year, but I couldn’t sit down and list them to you off the top of my head. That’s like being under those waves getting tossed around, just trying to figure out which way is up, and then having someone hand you a crossword puzzle. I am taking in so much new information through my experiences, the things I see, and the times where I just sit in my room for threehours laying on my back staring at the wall. It’s just not the sort of stuff that can be neatly organized into a five-paragraph essay.
I haven’t been writing blogs very much lately, but I think about doing so all the time. I want to find ways to share this journey with you: all the people who helped me get here, those who have made me who I am today. The hard part of writing these blogs, though, is putting words to something that I myself don’t really understand. For those of you who know me well, you know that I have wanted to be in control my whole life, to be put together, and to be a leader. I have been the team captain, the international representative, the CEO and founder, the group project wrangler, the banker AND property manager in monopoly, the role model, the big brother, the camp counselor, and the impresser of adults.
So I have something else to add to the list: student of the world. Each day I am given new lessons which I try to figure out and, if I’m lucky, to learn something from. I just have to trust that through this extremely unorthodox lesson plan that has been laid before me, I can use it to rebuild into a stronger and more impactful leader. So for now, here’s to the madness, embracing the unknown, and the times when I don’t know which way is up, but hang in there, kicking my feet and flailing my arms, believing somehow I’ll figure it out.
Neale Donald Walsch said, Life begins at the end of your comfort zone