This summer I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reflection. I’m the kind of person that actually enjoys spending quite a bit of time alone thinking. I talk to myself sometimes a lot and yes, I’ve been caught on several occasions. Eekk! Some call it meditation, some reflection but whatever your label preference, I believe it’s highly essential to figure out who you are as an individual. Just like getting to know someone, getting to know YOU takes time and realistically speaking, effort. It’s not something that happens overnight but overtime.
Relating this to the quote, only you know and can determine what’s best for you. You can’t depend on others to decide what direction your life goes in. It’s actually the worst if you’re constantly depending on public opinion before taking the next step (whatever that may be). Public opinion is fleeting and people can (and will) never be satisfied. I’m an optimist but I’ve realized you’ll die trying if you decide to go down that route.  Mind you, advice is great because having different views on a topic gives you a multidimensional view. It comes in handy during those times you get caught up in your head and need someone to talk sense into you. I always take advice as a means towards a new direction on an issue. However, you cannot allow it dictate your life.
I feel so emotional about this topic of self-discovery because I’ve seen full blown adults, I mean I-graduated-college-15-years-ago adults who lack a firm grasp of who they are as individuals. One of my biggest fears is graduating and not knowing why I made the decisions I made. Why I chose the academic I did or participated in the extracurricular activities I chose to. Did I do it because I valued it in some way or because it was expected by others? 

 I always like to think that college years is the period where you can do what you want, try new things, experiment and really get to learn more about you. You don’t have to worry about bills that have to be paid or bosses that are pains in derrière. While you’re closer to the “real world” as they say, you’re still shielded from it. In this bubble, you have the opportunity to work on your self-esteem, learn how to take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally free from all that pressure. Take the time to figure out your likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses etc. You can take (smart) risks without worrying too much about the consequences. You can travel, go sky-diving, go snorkeling, or start a club. The list is endless. One of my biggest fears in this life is waking up as a grown-ass adult and having no idea why I’m doing what I do or even worse, wishing I had “done that instead”.  It scares the crap out of me.

If there’s something you want to do or experience, do it regardless of public opinion. You can’t live your life through and for others. Don’t get it twisted, this doesn’t apply if it’s something stupid, dangerous or clearly not right for you. The earlier you build a firm grasp on your individuality, the less likely you are to fall for crap and the more likely you are to pursue what you truly want for yourself. You need to realize and accept that you’re worth the time and effort. Get to know yourself the way you’d want someone to get to know you. Spend time alone and do things for you. It’s not being selfish or conceited because if you truly want to help and be of help to others, you need to be your best. This is a topic I’m very passionate about so I can go on and on but you can find resources on self-discovery and self-love all over the World Wide Web.
Like I said, learning about you takes time and as nice as it’d be to write a guide,  “LAJA 101: How I Figured Me Out In 4 Years And Now Slay Life”, I know it’ll go way beyond my college years.  You know that yummy feeling in your gut when you’re closer to figuring out a puzzle than you were before? Yes, that feeling. Strive for that sensation with yourself every day. It never gets old. 

Cheers to self-love and self-discovery!