Do you ever feel like you march to the beat of a different drum than all those around you? Like everyone’s listening to one song but you’re tuned into a different station all together?
If so, you’re not alone. I’ve been walking around to my own beat for a while now. I don’t think I’m listening to the wrong music; in fact I love my music. But because I’ve tuned into my own channel I can feel myself slowly growing apart from friends, colleagues and even family. What I appreciate in life and what I want in my future has evolved rapidly, separating me from the person I used to be and in turn from the people that liked the old me.
Only a few years ago I was a person that my friends understood. I was just like them and I was completely content. I was a new urban professional stuck in the endless cycle of grind-it-out workweeks and party-hard weekends. It was a blurry cycle that while fun in the moment was in the end unsustainable and unrewarding.
Back then I didn’t have time, or more accurately the space, to think about higher questions in life that have consumed my mind of late – questions about my purpose here, my passions I had been ignoring and the direction of my life. Maybe back then I simply wasn’t ready for these thoughts, but now this new music is turned all the way up and it won’t go away. While it can be frightening to feel alone like this I know that I’m heading in the right direction. I can feel that the rhythm is finally right.
But now I sit here asking myself about the origin of this change. When did this all start for me? When will it start for you?
While there are several circumstances I can point to that changed my perspective and brought me to this new state including travel, exposure to foreign cultures, and inspirational books – there is one overarching theme that all of these have in common. Space. Space from work. Space from friends. Space from routine. Space to learn a new concept. Space from the comfortable American culture. Space to free my mind and to think creatively. Space away from that endless cycle that had my mind in a whirlwind for so many years.
I used to always think that I needed time. Time to grow. Time to learn. Time to be alone. While time can be valuable, it is useless if you can’t also create space away from your world. You see, I realized that we don’t need time to seek answers to our problems, but space to figure out if we are asking the right questions at all.
I encourage you to find a way to create your own space and maybe you’ll hear the same music as me, or better yet, maybe you’ll discover your own.