This is part 8 of my 10 part Life Lessons Series, where each week I will be taking a lesson (in random order) from 10 Life Lessons From 30 Years, sharing my own personal experiences with that lesson, and expanding it into a more detailed post. This week, Life Lesson Number 10:
Throw away the script and create your own adventure. Don’t live according to society or anyone else’s script or expectations. Don’t be afraid to start over if you need to. Create your own adventure and embrace the unknown.
CREATE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE
This is a super meaningful post for me because I very much walked through the fire on this one. For most of my life, I thought I was meant to be an actress. I thought I was pursuing my dreams when I moved to Los Angeles in my early twenties– it’s who I thought I was, what I thought I wanted, what I grew up believing about myself. It took me several years and hitting my own rock bottom to realize that I was making myself absolutely miserable clinging to this dream with my death grip. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done to admit to myself and everyone I knew that I no longer wanted this dream, that I no longer was this person, that I’d maybe never been this person.
And this was a truly terrifying moment for me, to see the terrible and great unknown looming up in front of me like the edge of a cliff to nowhere. Who was I? What was my life going to look like now? I realized there was no point in running, so I decided to jump. Since I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I decided the only thing to do was to sell all of my belongings and travel by myself to India for 5 months in the hopes that by throwing myself into this trial by fire, I would have some idea of where to turn next in my life by the time it was finished. And you know what? It worked.
THROW AWAY THE SCRIPT
I think all of us at some point come to a moment in our lives where we have to reconcile who we thought we were and what we thought we wanted with who we actually are and what we actually want. It’s a defining cross roads that I truly don’t think any of us can escape. No matter how wonderful our families or how accepting our social circles, as we are growing up we are going to receive messages about who we’re supposed to be, about what we’re good at, about what we’re supposed to want to do with our lives. And I think it is the relinquishing of this origin story, and discovering whether or not this is really true for us that is the cross roads of self discovery. I think each one of us owes it to ourselves to at some point challenge this script we’ve been given, to throw it away, and create our own adventure.
The reason for this being is because this original story we have about ourselves is comfortable. And at some point, to live truly fulfilling lives, we are going to have to consent to being uncomfortable. To challenge ourselves and the stories we have about ourselves that we believe to be true, that our loved ones believe to be true. Because no matter how bumper stickery it sounds, the best and most magical parts of our lives do happen outside of our comfort zones, and the fastest and most effective route to escaping your comfort zone is by fully embracing the unknown. If you want to invite the miracle of magical possibility to enter your life, the unknown is your best friend.
When I took my flying leap into the unknown, everything changed, in the most wonderful ways. I found direction, purpose, love, and fulfillment. And maybe it will be the same for you, but you also might find that you belong where you started. Perhaps what you will discover at the end of it is that you’ve come full circle, but in if you do come full circle, it will be in the knowledge that it’s where you’re meant to be and not just what you thought you were meant to be. You can live your life without those nagging questions of what if?
I like to think of Paolo Coehlo’s The Alchemist— the protagonist must go on a journey to discover his treasure and ultimately discovers that it’s closer to home than he could of imagined, but in order to discover exactly where it is, he had to go through this epic journey. Otherwise he would have forever stayed at home, in the comfort of his life, without ever finding the treasure his life was meant to point him towards.
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Carina Covella is a writer and currently working on her forthcoming memoir, Love Dogs, detailing her six month transformational journey from Hollywood through India. Carina graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University cum laude with a degree in Art History. She also attended the Sorbonne in Paris and studied opera at the Manhattan School of Music through the university exchange programs. Until recently she lived in Mill Valley, California with her wonderful Welsh boyfriend Anthony in a house nestled in the trees, but now they’re off on a two year adventure around the world. When she’s not writing or traveling, she loves to cook for her friends and family.