Life experience, like humor, is full of expectations. It is human nature to expect. In answering Lauren’s question posed on Tuesday I do believe that Liz’s cry for belief and faith in something is incredibly authentic. Although Eat, Pray, Love was financed I don’t believe that had much of an influence on what she has written. One can never predict what experiences they will encounter, therefore whatever expectations Liz had regarding her trip were not a concrete rubric for her to follow. During my sophomore year here I had, what my roommates so lovingly described, an existential crisis. Having to declare a major without any thought of what I wanted to do with my life was difficult. For some reason or another, probably because my two roommates were speech path majors, I chose speech path. That very day I proceeded to come home, cry hysterically for an hour, look up different colleges online, and then decided to make a poster full of all my super fantastic ideas. The poster read,
“Help people less fortunate, experience life, go to Europe and see the world. Have stories to tell with happy endings. Life should be about passion, relationships, and experiences. Don’t feel obligated to do the same things day after day just so you can find a “good” job or make a “good” name for yourself. From now on I believe that what shapes your life are the people you share your time with. The mistakes, the pitfalls, the hardships, the good times, the laughter, the faith, and the love…these are the monumental moments that make life worthwhile.”
It wasn’t until after I watched an episode of Felicity that I took to heart my own words. Ben Covington, a lead character in the show had said, “I always remember this one thing a teacher said, which was, all the interesting people she knew they had no idea what they were going to do with their lives when they were 20. So chances are, I’m going to turn out to be a pretty interesting guy.” (http://www.allsubs.org/search-movie-quotes/Felicity/) This put me at ease and helped me to realize that it was okay to pursue my English major, and this past summer take a chance on an internship in an Emergency Room which led me to the realization that I want to be a nurse. Today I sent out my first Nursing School application.
Reading Eat, Pray, Love this week was almost eerily specific to how I have been feeling lately. After experiencing a tragic loss I feel like I want to be like Liz, run off and discover who I truly am before its too late. I have realized this past week how important it is to surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. Life is incredibly too short not to be your own person. After reading this book it is all the more clear that no one should ever feel as if they have to fit into conventions. Gilbert writes,
“But I was supposed to want to have a baby. I was thirty-one years old. My husband and I—who had been together for eight years, married for six—had built our entire life around the common expectation that, after passing the doddering old age of thirty, I would want to settle down and have children…But I didn't—as I was appalled to be finding out—want any of these things.”
This is not something anyone should ever feel ashamed of. It is in essence who she is, and perhaps she is not meant for the type of life she expected, that is not an appalling fact but rather an endearing characteristic. As much as I admire Elizabeth Gilbert’s thirst for existential enlightenment, it pains me to think that as she is on this journey for self-realization she leaves so much of her life behind. Yet, this is a risk that we all must be willing to take at some point or another, to be able to leave our comfort zones and be brave enough to be able to say “I did that” or “That wasn’t for me” or “Yes, that’s what I’ve been searching for.”