I am 26 years old now (after celebrating with a legendary party I held in an abandoned war bunker). A lot of people around me seem to be settling down into their respective career paths, relationships, friendship groups and life situations and getting ready to set the pace for the rest of their lives.
Now while there’s nothing wrong with this progress, especially when you’re in a good relationship, career, financial, physical and general life situation… most people don’t seem to be settling out of conscious choice, rather through an unconscious need to find security. There seems to be a disconnection between real personal achievement and the achievement that society unconsciously expects from you. I’m not saying that many great things in life don’t take considerable time and sustained effort (building your career, following your creative path, etc), but a successful life also requires a healthy amount of experimentation, change and trial-and-error, something which our present society doesn’t seem to encourage too much past a certain age. I really am happy for my friends who seem to have found their ‘true path’, but I think they are honestly few and far between.
Now you may think ‘hey Lorin, your life seems to lack consistency and stability, are you not just projecting your unfulfilled desires through this blog? ‘ Now don’t get me wrong, part of me does crave security, as all humans do. But the greater part of me is ready to sacrifice this and go through all of the associated pains of finding my personal best in every area of my life.
I’ve always had a burning restlesness ever since I was a kid. Sometimes it would manifest as me smashing things up with a hammer, chasing kids home from school and throwing things at them, being a class clown, blowing things up, causing bushfires, annoying everyone and everything, getting suspended etc. At other times, it would push me to try new things and not give up until I had won or learnt the lesson. This energy is still within me now, pushing me to create, discover and explore.
I see the contrast between people that are around 18-23, people that are around 24-30 and then people that are 30+. They all seem to follow the same routine:
In the first stage, fool around, travel, experiment and have a good time when you’re young. Anything goes! I’m all for this because you just keep on learning and growing.
The problem starts at the second stage:
In the second stage, by your mid 20s, the unrecognized societal implication is that you should already be well on your chosen path by now and if you’re not, then stick with what you’ve got. You’ve probably gone through enough relationships by now so change is probably unnecessary (and also difficult and scary). You should be thinking about marriage and kids soon anyway. You should have finished your degree by now, and why would you even dare consider changing jobs after building so much experience for yourself? Travelling and partying are frowned upon as hedonistic luxuries instead of ways of meeting new friends, forming new relationships, discovering what you want and simply enjoying life.
We don’t actively say that we discourage these things, but it’s generally implied by what everyone else is doing and by how ingrained these patterns are in your mind by this stage. Rethinking how you feel and act by this time is generally seen as wrong as we should have already worked it out by now. The problem lies in the fact that these years are crucial for finding out who you REALLY are and what you REALLY want out of life, which is often very different from what you thought you wanted when you were 20. How much a man changes between the age of 20 and 25. Is it really wise to stick with the same path simply out of habit and fear of change? But if you can really step outside of yourself for a moment and say ‘yes, this is the perfect life for me’, then continue doing what you’re doing.
I’m so glad I grew up the way I did, sailing around the world in a boat for a year and a half when I was 12 (see my ‘sea blog’ for more info). Growing up first in London and then Sydney. Discovering spirituality from a young age. Trying a whole heap of different jobs, study paths, places to live, different drugs, different types of friends, different girls. Failing hard, getting expelled, getting fired, getting dumped, losing friends, losing money, almost dying 3 times. Not sticking to the simple way of thinking and chasing simple desires that seems to work so easily for most people (from the outside at least). I saw that life could be lived in a different way.
Forgive me if I’m being overly idealistic here or sounding like a motivational speaker (why do either of those require apology though realistically?), but I believe that these are the types of experiences that society needs to be encouraging us to still be having in our 20s and 30s, so that when you find your dream job, your employer recognizes your depth of character. When you find your dream woman she sees that you really know what you want from life and know how to take it. When life fucks you from both sides (assuming you don’t like that) you know how to handle it. When an opportunity comes your way, you won’t hesitate to change your whole life in order to take it.
To commit mistakes is not wrong — commit as many mistakes as possible, because that is the only way you will learn. But don´t commit the same mistakes again and again, because that makes you stupid.-OSHO
We see people like spiritual teachers, life coaches, successful businessmen etc when they are at their peak of success. We don’t see Eckhart Tolle’s 30 years of crippling depression before he became enlightened. We don’t see Steve Jobs stressing and staying up for days to make a deadline. We don’t see Tony Robbins working as a janitor before he was famous. We don’t see Neil Strauss failing with hundreds of women, don’t see Michael Jordan missing shots in his practice time… you get the idea.
Now I’m not saying that many successful people didn’t go through these challenges and changes earlier than their mid to late 20s, but what I am saying is that if we listen to the way society generally expects us to be then we might just give up by the time we get there if we haven’t made it yet. Age isn’t anywhere near as much of a limiting factor as we are lead to believe so we should use this truth to keep pushing, experimenting, making mistakes, travelling, trying new things, changing and reshaping our sense of self and everything in our life.
So it’s not that I haven’t found a career path that doesn’t interest me, like music, massage, teaching tantra or yoga, becoming a spiritual teacher, organizing events or many of my other ideas. It’s that I have come to see so many paths available to me to devote my life to that I want to explore a little more before I settle on something.
It’s not that I haven’t found girls that don’t fit me either. It’s that as I have gotten older I have started to understand women more and as that happens it gets easier to form relationships. As I get more life experience and maturity and find my path, I also want a woman who’s more on her ‘path’ too. Without being too cynical, I have come to realize that many of the surface level feelings that relationships bring are interchangeable to an extent, especially in regards to affection and sexuality. I realise that the dream of ‘the one’ is more of a fantasy that I was fed when I was younger. With a bit more experience I am able to notice what really makes a girl stand out from the crowd instead (I was a bit late to the party in this respect).
It’s also not like I don’t like living in Sydney either, but right now I don’t have any real commitments and the whole world at my feet. I have future plans to go back to Thailand for a little holiday, then spend up to a year living in India. I also want to try living in London again, as well as sailing on a boat again as well living and travelling in America, and perhaps making music somewhere in Europe at some point in the future. I think I’m also going to spend some time in Melbourne before I leave Australia too.
As I get older all of my points of reference become less fixed. I make friends more easily and quickly but I lose them or fall out of touch more quickly too. My network of friends has expanded so that when I hold a party I have no problems inviting 500 people. This then makes it interesting when they are all in the same place at once and my sense of self is no longer fixed to one particular group. Girls come into my life with less effort and it becomes more about finding ones I want to keep around. I have opportunities to make a lot more money more quickly to devote to my dreams. Things that seemed like such a big deal like moving city, travelling, trying a new job or studying something new are easy impulse decisions to me now. My mistakes and life lessons are less frequent but much bigger too.
I was so close to settling into a stable life situation for a while… it was so close that I could see it all unfolding right in front of me. And then a few things changed and it created a butterfly effect which rippled through every other area of my life. Once again my destiny was not fixed. Perhaps the universe had other plans for me. I think I was always destined to be a bit of a nomad. It runs in my blood and in my past.
Everything happens for a reason after all and i’m not adverse to the idea of karma and the law of attraction.
A few more months here paying off some debts and saving some money and the adventure continues. Stay tuned here for some travel blogs in the future.