My summer in Europe came and went like a bump in the road; enough to where I noticed it, but certainly not life changing.

I really enjoyed my time in Germany, the Rheinsteig, Florence and England but I guess I was hoping for an epiphany of some kind. Some sign from above to tell me what I was meant to do. But my plan to travel for the summer and receive guidance for my future backfired completely.

Once back in Missouri, I moved in with my aunt and uncle and started work as a laborer for the city water department.

I was grateful to have a job and a place to live, but my brave-faced mask I wore to protect my emotions was deteriorating. I was unhappy. I wanted more out of life. I needed to fly free and be independent. I had to live on my own while at the same time, see the world at my own pace. But I had none of these things. Student loans, an unfulfilling job and no money to pursue my passions consumed my every thought. With no inspiration on what to do, I reluctantly looked for a career to fit in.

Florence, Italy 2009

Florence, Italy 2009

My problems didn’t stop there however. To add to my despair, I had my new degree from college but was only now realizing the jobs associated with it didn’t interest me. I studied Geography because I was passionate about other cultures, not because of the career outlook… I don’t think that was so wrong.

Anyway, finding a job I liked that was also related to my field was an impossible task.

A major aspect of my undecidedness was the impression that I had to “Pick a career.”

THERE IS NO JOB ON EARTH I WANT TO DO THE REST OF MY LIFE!

As a child, people asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As if I had to pick one. Why the hell would I pick one thing to do the rest of my life!?! And limit myself to the endless possibilities this world has to offer? You must be joking! Yeah, commitment is not really my thing…

That’s what I felt, but instead I tried to fit in with the masses and find a career.

I should have listened to my inner voice but the pressure to follow other’s expectations (College, career, house, marriage, kids…) was too engrained in my mind to ignore. A habitual line of thinking so long taught these thoughts were now my own.

So there I was, 22 years old, living in Missouri and digging ditches to bring home the bacon. I enjoyed working with my hands and getting dirty, but something was definitely missing. I still had big dreams of seeing the world but felt completely stuck. I could not shake the feeling of being a child, unable to grow up. I lived in a cage for the financially destitute and felt cemented to the floor, powerless to break free. I needed distance, but had no way out.

I could feel the dark, shadowy lull of depression creep over me, causing nausea and hopelessness. I curled up into that old familiar cocoon and repressed all thoughts of adventure, dreaming and of a life lived on my own. Bummer I know… but the story picks up I swear! I put my head down and for the next year, I just worked.

Who would have thought something as simple as a TV show would change my life forever? And I’m not being cliché… this actually happened!

Stay tuned!!

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