The photos of your new life are breathtaking. You decided to leave with a one-way ticket, to get a change of scenery. Some fresh air in your lungs. It was time. Your family misses you, and although my advice may not be popular with them, I just wanted to tell you…don’t come back. Don’t even consider it. Not yet. You have to leave while you’re young.
This is your time.
You were born with a great restlessness that many never know and most won’t understand, and they’ll try to lure you back. Being away from everything you’ve known will allow you to put your innate talents to the test and give you the intellectual challenge you’ve craved. In fact, being so far outside your comfort zone will allow you to become the person you were meant to be in a way that just wouldn’t be possible if you were here.
You aren’t where you come from.
You are destined for a life far bigger than the one you were born into. You – and especially you – are not where you came from. You do not need to be who they want you to be. You are whomever you dream to be and whomever you have the fortitude enough to work to become. It’s damn hard to be that person, but you can. Have a clear vision and don’t give up on it, because this is your moment. Seize it, and become that person.
Don’t ever settle for less than you deserve.
Don’t let yourself be comfortable. Always push yourself further, harder, and in ways that you never thought possible. Surround yourself with others who do the same, and who want to lift you up toward your dreams. Stay away from those who urge you to play it safe, who try to ground you, give practicality to your dreams, or who bring you down or make you feel like less than you are. This is not your time to be grounded.
Set the stage to become the person you want to be.
You have the rest of your life to settle. You will be comfortable, and with age comes risk aversion. Now, when you’re young, brave, and untethered, embrace it. See the world, do great things, break some rules, experience life. You are nurturing the person you will be for the rest of your life. Be the person they never thought you could be – the one you always knew you could. Don’t sell yourself short. Swoop the world up and guard it in your satchel and save it for a more prescriptive time.
Live now, for forever.
Someday, you may be stuck in an office job, in an old folks home, or in a normal life, living by someone else’s rules. You’ll harken back to these moments now, thinking about your indiscretion, discovery, and inhibition. You’ll remember the times your mind was blown, your consciousness expanded, when you connected with God. You’ll smile when you remember the people, and the pain, and the pleasures that became a part of your sense of self. And you’ll hold these secrets in the twisted maze of your mind and smile, because you lived.
What kind of stories do you want to tell and what memories do you want to relive for the rest of your days? Now is the time to write those stories. Set the bar high for yourself – a vantage point from which you’ll see the world for the rest of your life, and don’t slide down.
Don’t come back.
No matter what your family tells you, how your friends urge you, or what the moments of weakness or loneliness will lead you to consider, don’t come back. Not yet. You’ll always have your safety net here, people who love you, and the safety and stagnancy of a life too tame for you. All your memories here will be right where you left them, little figurines on a dresser top, dusty but untouched by time. When you come home, you can wipe away the years, and come back to your treasures, or put them away to make space for the new ones from your satchel. You’ll likely come home someday – we mostly all do – but after you’ve lived your adventure. It’s perfect for most people. You are not most people.
Go be great.
Go and keep going, don’t don’t worry about us. Well, maybe a little bit. Call home. Stay connected, and let others live vicariously through this beautiful narrative you’re drafting. For the novel you’re compiling in your head. For the poetry that is your day-to-day. For the complexity of your characters and the pinnacle of this story, with the punchline yet to be determined. Write it down.
Some day you’ll be ready to come back – but don’t do it till you’re good and ready. We’ll share a drink. We’ll share stories and we’ll acknowledge that we’re keeping some memories sacred for ourselves. We’ll recognize the spark in each others’ eyes, knowing we’ve each lived well, but for now…
Explore. Discover. Live. Love.