In the 3 months since graduation I have traveled a little of 17,500 miles. Starting with a trip for leisure, continuing with a move from Chicago area to the middle of Texas, and ending with back to back weekends making friendship and wedding ceremonies a priority, let’s just say I am exhausted. I am by no means a world traveler, but I have always made it a point to put self-growth, love, and family/friends ahead of the little things like sleep, poor communication on planning, or distance. At times I wish I was the type of person that could say, “No it would be better if I didn’t travel across the country and stayed at home because I need to rest.” Or “Maybe taking a trip to another country before a move and one of the largest exams of my life isn’t the most responsible thing”. However, if I have learned one thing from talking to people it’s that no one ever regrets an experience they had. It actually required my brother telling me that I was being dumb for trying to save some money, now that I have a career locked down, instead of going to one of my friend’s bachelor parties. In the grand scheme of things there is always more money to be made, more time needed for relaxation, and other reasons things can’t workout. However for me it is about finding the one or two reasons that make something worth it.
Looking down from these airplanes as I was flying over some of the largest cities in our nation like Chicago, Dallas, or Indianapolis, it gets you thinking about how little of a role we all play in the grand scheme of things. As we were preparing to land in Dublin I was able to look out and see the vast green emerald isle, landing at midway allowed me the chance to see a major city from 5,000 feet in the air and there is nothing cooler than looking down over the “flyover states” between Indianapolis and Dallas. All of this occurs while hundreds of thousands of people are living their lives below me. Unbeknownst to a mom taking her kid to soccer practice, another SPT cramming for their boards, or someone who is having one of the worst days of their lives in a hospital, I was somehow 30,000 feet in the air on a machine with 200 hundred or more other individuals living our own lives.
The more you think about how big this world is the easier it is to get lost in it all. However, when you’re able to take this macro approach it gives you a stronger understanding that what we fret about in day to day life is usually at a very micro level. In undergrad, I had the opportunity to spend 2 weeks abroad in India and was exposed to a lifestyle where the micro was so important to these peoples’ survival. While we were there it dropped below freezing and people were dying in the streets from the cold because they had no housing, in the clinic we worked in, hundreds of people came through in a 10 hour period the majority of whom were malnourished because they did not have a next meal established. All of these experiences have made me take an open minded approach to this life and realize no matter how good or how bad I have it, there is always someone out there who will do more than I am doing, and there will always be someone in need of my help.
Now that I have a career path set to help our nation’s heroes, have been in a serious relationship for over 3 years, and am looking for a place to call my own; I have realized that at 25 I am starting to find myself in a position to help so many more people. While I have always made it a point to reach out and touch the lives of others, sometimes it is hard to keep focus with exams, no set income, and the knowledge that my whole life was still up in the air. I know I am still a very young man in the grand scheme of things; however I do not intend to spend this life working day to day and living for the weekends.
If even a single person reading this is inspired to do something more than it was well worth the hour of my life. Each and every one of our lives is precious and wasting time doing something you don’t love or avoiding something you want to do because of the judgement of others is just ridiculous. If you are afraid of what 1-10 people in your life is/are going to think about you taking a weekend trip to see Niagara Falls, or calling in sick because you need a mental health day, or heck even quitting your job because you want to engulf yourself in other cultures with travel. Remember there are millions of people in this world who would be willing to get to know you a little better or wouldn’t give it a second thought. To live your life in a small circle can be great for some, however; if you find yourself being a big fish in a little pond and have the desire to swim in the ocean. Find the path to take you to your dreams; there are always people willing to help you as someone has likely helped them before.
There is so much bad publicity in this world that people talk about how afraid they are or that they only feel comfortable in their own home. Instead of listening to others on your TV or news-feed, take some time to explore this amazing world around you. Even if that is just trying a new restaurant, volunteering for a charity in your home town, or planning a month long excursion to eastern Asia. Each of us only gets one life to live, one chance to impact other peoples’ lives, and once opportunity to create some good stories share with future generations. I know I am planning to impact quite a few more people in the years to come, are you
I am a new graduate DPT and am interested in personal growth and becoming a connector within my profession.