It is a gift that we can’t remember how we were born. Pretty much every way that a new creature enters the world is traumatic. Birds get the trauma twice. At first, they’re chilling in their egg, just minding their own business. At some point, they decide, okay, it’s time, then they have to literally break free from confinement, often by beating their own head and beak against their cozy egg home. Then they’re too inexperienced in the world to do anything for themselves, so they just wait on someone to shove worms down their throat. Finally, it’s time to time to leave the nest. Do they practice flying first? No, they either jump or are shoved out of a tree. Here’s hoping they’re ready to fly, because if they are, they glide into adulthood. If not, what comes next is painful.
We actually experience a very similar growth trajectory as we get older. Only for us, we have the joy of actually remembering all of this. While we’re children, we’re just chilling in our home with our family, just like that baby bird in the egg. Eventually, after 18 or so years of preparation, it’s time to emerge into the world and have someone shove knowledge and expectations of what is to come next into our minds. That’s like college. Finally, we graduate, we have this degree and then what? It’s time to fly. Some are ready to do so and glide gracefully on to the next phases of life. Others do not know what they’re going to do next and stumble, followed by difficult growing pains.
Have you ever wondered why some take off and fly while others crash and burn? One reason is simple: people who “fly” are following their passions by honoring their story. When you understand your story, you know what is meaningful to you and what isn’t. Once you know your story, it is important that you align your direction with that story. So you’ve spent two years in engineering classes when your heart told you to go into pediatric medicine? It isn’t too late to change! So you’ve just graduated with a degree in statistics but you really wanted to paint? You can develop your painting skills and still follow that dream too!
If you’re in this phase of emerging into the world, just like that baby bird, take some time and think about your story. Really self-reflect and ask yourself what makes you feel happy to do. What is that you do that you get so excited about and invested in that you forget to eat? Follow that passion. When you follow your heart, you will be ready to fly.
Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson