Nomi Leasure answers the all important question: what should we do when we feel unsettled? How do we change our thought patterns and change our state of mind?
I moved to Hawaii a little over two years ago. While I love it here, I can’t help but feel trapped. I’m in my early twenties and I feel like with the expense of living here, I’m not able to travel as much as I’d like. I also feel like I haven’t planted roots here and it’s very unsettling. I don’t think this is for me and think there are other places I need to let shape me but I don’t want to feel like I’m giving up… what’s your advice? – Anonymous
Okay, so I can only feel but so sorry for you… Hawaii?! I hope you typed that from under a palm tree with a frozen coconut mojito melting by your side. I guess that’s the issue, huh? Life in Hawaii is expected to be nothing but perfect, isn’t it? But how fitting that you are feeling this way – in a tropical haven that is sunny one moment and then suddenly pouring down rain.
I can certainly relate to you beach bum. From one “lucky girl” to another, I understand when things aren’t always as sunny as they seem on the surface. I understand how difficult it is to navigate a situation that everyone is telling you is so perfect, when ultimately you feel unfulfilled. Sometimes a girl needs more than a three-story loft and Louboutins.
Sometimes she needs purpose. Most times she needs meaning.
It sounds like you may have moved to Hawaii with an image in your head of what your life should be like. The Pinterest board in your mind was pinned with little notions you’ve picked up while attempting to piece together the moodboard of your life, and, much like most Pinterest creations, it didn’t turn out to look like the picture.
This is another place where I can say, girl, I feel you. I moved from Pittsburgh to Philly for college with a grand idea of how my life would be, booked it straight to LA after graduation with another pretty little picture tucked in my pocket, and split for NY after only a summer, and… well can you guess how I’ve felt the entire time? Pretty “unsettled” as you put it. None of those places have felt truly like home. And now even home doesn’t feel like a place I can stay for too long.
But in our twenties should we be comfortable? Should we feel settled?
Darling, to that I would say hell-fucking-no. If you find yourself someplace in the world where you are so warm and cosy and comfortable and settled then you’re on the fast track to dying because baby once you feel settled you stop growing. Once you are settled your trajectory moves in the opposite direction of forward. You recede, you slow, you stop. Discomfort is something we welcome in our twenties. Discomfort is our frenemy. Discomfort is like going to the gym, and cutting carbs, and flossing – not fun but necessary for growth and health.
Our twenties are our time of knighthood and exploration. Would it be cheesy for me to say focus not on the destination but the journey? Ah – but journey is what you desire! You want to travel and currently feel “trapped.” Trapped in the same place you feel unsettled for not building roots…
You’ve got yourself caught in a grass skirt of contradictions here. What it sounds like to me is it wouldn’t really matter where in the world you found yourself. These feelings would follow you to the edge of the earth. You are living your life while constantly comparing it to a life you feel you should be living. You are setting yourself up for disappointment, and you are missing all the good stuff.
Fulfilment comes by doing things that are… fulfilling.
What are you doing for work there? Is it a job you feel passionate about? Are there people you work with who inspire you? What are your hobbies? Are you dedicating time to nourishing the creative parts of yourself? Who are the people you surround yourself with? What do they do that they are passionate about? Are they awesome people who are enthusiastic about life or are they listless twenty-something-year-olds scrolling endlessly on social media feeds while complaining about not feeling connected to the world around them? What communities are you involved in? How much giving back have you done in your two years? Volunteering? How have you invested in this community that you want to invest in you?
Think about it like this: Places aren’t going to shape you, you are going to shape places. Navigate this place with the purpose to spin gold where you walk. We often view life as something that happens to us and to which we simply react. Shut that thinking down. Live this life with the vision of how you can move the world around you. A place, a job, a city isn’t going to change your life – you are going to change your life.
And changing your life is as simple and profound as changing your state of mind. Boom.