• Cat Young


--- finding solitude is not as easy as it seems, because it starts with accepting the person you see in the mirror.

It’s 2017, and I find myself taking a leap of faith by booking a flight to Sydney, Australia. I had a plan to meet a group to volunteer and travel with, but the initial part of this journey was going to be me, myself and I. Something I was so afraid of, because who was I to say that I should trust myself enough to do this on my own and not fail in the face of the world. (dramatic, but honest)

What made me do it?-- I had just graduated high-school and had been waitlisted at the majority of my dream schools. I had a desire to do something adventurous, and I truly had nothing to lose. An opportunity fell into my lap and I just let it happen. I was tired of calculating a “perfect” plan, and I was tired of thinking I was incapable of achieving something. I told myself, “You cannot fail until you try, and you have yet to try.” It was and is that simple. It was this mindset that pushed me to new boundaries. It was this mindset that gave me the courage to do something out of the ordinary. It was this mindset that lit my fire.

As I mentally prepared to do something I once never thought possible, I was faced with moments of fear, panic and regret. I was questioning many things, but mainly I was questioning my ability to fully support myself in a foreign place. I felt unbalanced and untrusting in myself.

The point where I started to see things more clearly was during my initial layover at Los Angeles airport. I had 6 hours in a place that nobody calls home and reality hit me HARD. I was lost. I was alone. Mostly, I was afraid. It took me a few hours, but I finally came to the conclusion that all this anxiety is coming from the fact that I did not trust myself. I truly did not understand how to be with myself and how to trust in my actions and emotions. This was the beginning of my mission to find solitude.

What is solitude? -- Solitude is the state of seclusion and isolation. It is the state of being alone, without being or feeling lonely.

Where can solitude be found? -- A mission to find solitude is a mission in connecting with yourself. To find solitude it is important to not be afraid of yourself. All those wild, crazy internal thoughts and emotions come from genuine places, not monsters that live within the brain. I like to think of solitude to be associated with self-control and the comfort of knowing how to handle yourself.

Remember your first taste of driving a car? It may have been daunting, I know it was for me. However, after learning and mastering the most basic operations to driving a car allowed an entrance into a new type of freedom. This is the milestone that gifts the key to reach the ends of the world. Naively and determined we drive as close to the edge as possible with the reassurance of this newfound confidence until suddenly... a tire pops. The mastered knowledge of where the brake and gas are located is no help to the current situation. Fear, panic, and regret rush to your mind and somehow you still need to get this car back to home base. There is an opportunity to phone a lifeline and throw this problem on someone else's shoulders, OR there is an opportunity to dig a little deeper and identify the root of this problem. You have an option to remain naive about the operative functions of a car, or you have an option to challenge this knowledge and fix it yourself.

I like to associate solitude with self-control and the comfort of knowing how to handle yourself. How are you going to handle the car situation? Are you going to seek the support of others, or are you going to trust in your ability to solve this problem on your own? I argue that learning to drive a car is just as daunting as learning to find solitude. There are plenty of foreign operations and functions, however eventually with a little patience, these can be mastered.

Choosing to solve the car problem on your own reflects an ability to trust yourself. Yes, the mechanics of a car are different from the mechanics of the human body, I do recognize that. That being said, if humans have the capacity to create such a complicated device, then humans have the capacity to monitor and control the most complicated parts of ourselves.

Shifting trust and reliance on yourself is the first step in finding solitude. It may not be as easy as it seems, because finding solitude starts with accepting the person you see in the mirror. Trust yourself and trust your gut. For myself, finding solitude has been a journey, but it all started with my initial trip to Australia. It may be simple to say “I do trust myself,” but as soon as you put yourself in an isolated situation your opinions may change. It is a challenge to accept the responsibility of your actions, however, this is how growth occurs. Trust yourself because you are the only one driving this car; you are the only one that can handle this life.

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