A friend asked me this week what I’ve learned about myself this year. The question caught me a bit off guard because I felt like it’s something to which I should’ve already had an answer. I’m the introspection /queen/. What had I been thinking about if I haven’t been thinking about this?
Partly, I’ve just been trying to survive. There are plenty of logistics to think through when you’re moving every two months. On top of that, I’m running a business and doing two side projects and making new friends. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for reflection I guess. Introspection is a privilege.
So, she asked, and now I’ve been thinking about it.
Here’s a short list of the top five things I’ve learned so far:
1. As much as I want to like everybody in the whole world, I don’t, and that’s okay even if it doesn’t feel okay. I really like people, and I really like liking people, and I really like being liked by people. But. As hard as I can try, I’m just not going to like everyone. I think the key is still acknowledging that everyone has value as a person even if I don’t like them.
2. I really love Spanish and want to be fluent in it. This one was more of a reminder. I learned this in high school and college. The language is beautiful and interesting and so useful for so much of the world.
3. I wish I had cultivated more of an online following for my business before traveling. Out of sight, out of mind has been a bit of an issue this year. I’m working on it, but it’s slow going.
4. Privilege is a word that has come up a lot for me this year. I’m privileged to be a citizen of a country that has a fairly strong currency. (The Argentine Peso is 16 to 1 USD.) I’m privileged to have supportive family and friends. I’m privileged to have gone to college and graduated debt-free. I’m privileged that the language I speak is spoken around the world. I’m privileged that I grew up without lacking running water or electricity. I’m privileged that I didn’t grow up with gang violence or military violence or a civil war or major government corruption like other countries.
5. I work really hard. Even if I often feel like I’m not doing enough and even if there are people who are more ambitious and take less down time and earn more money, I work really hard. I studied and graduated college. I worked for other people. I started my own business. I saved money. I used credit cards cautiously. I ask for help.
My life isn’t an accident, and I didn’t just wake up one day to find myself traveling the world. My life is a combination of privilege and choices and probably some luck/fate/providence. I’ve made countless decisions to get myself on the path that I am.
One of the things I hear most often when people find out I’m a digital nomad is that they’re jealous. I don’t want people to be jealous. I want people to be supportive and excited for me, sure, but jealous? No. I want people to be inspired to work toward the life they actually want. We probably will never have everything that we want, but we can make a lot of choices along the way that will either get us closer to our dreams or further from them.
I’m not a special case. I’m not the smartest or the richest or the most clever or the most charming. I’m just a girl who decided to try her hand at building her own business and decided to travel and decided to seek adventure. I feel very average most of the time, which is why I think you, too, can forget about jealousy and pursue the life you really want.
What have you learned about yourself lately?