An endless amount of bitter café sessions with my best friends have been filled with coffee art, whorls of smoke, chocolate (my contribution), and musings over how our lives as 20-something year olds is not as we imagined it would be when we were younger. We all thought that by now we would have our studies in the bag, our careers set up, be in stable, long-term relationships, have time to facilitate our hobbies and interests, and be completely content with our physical appearance.
Instead, it seems like each of us has pursued our goals in one (or two) of these avenues, and hopelessly attempted to juggle the other 4 or 5, dropping the ball many a time. We would compare ourselves to our old friends from high school, and see how straight-arrow they seem (a-la-facebook) in pursuing and achieving their goals, whether it be finishing their full-time study and already making their way up the corporate ladder, or settling down and starting a family. These facebook sessions always freaked me out- how did these people know what they wanted? How were they so confident in decisions made when they were barely 18- without even knowing who they were, or seeing what else was out there?
I think it is this attitude embedded in my friends and I that made us want to exhaust every direction before deciding which route we wanted to go. You know the drill- you start to question a position you are in, and ask yourself whether it is a constraint circumstantially imposed on you, rather than being something truly right for you. You start to think of every other position you could be in, and begin trying them, seeing the benefits and negatives of each trial. And then somehow, miraculously, you realise the approach you took initially was right for you all along. In essence, the whole journey has just led you to re-invent the wheel; discovering something that has already been established and optimised.
There's a negative connotation to this, as though this behaviour is a waste of time and energy, but the honest truth is that I don't see it that way at all. You can travel around the world, only to end up home. This doesn't mean that your travels wouldn't have changed you or taught you new things- like independence, or new attitudes and skills. Or given you a confidence that you didn't have before. All these things can happen, and you can still decide that where your home was is where it should stay.
I personally, have adopted this behaviour on so may accounts-
I have virtually had every hairstyle under the sun- from an aftro, to a black pixie cut, to flaming red hippy-length hair, to a modern day Vitamin-C 'do (don't ask...), only to go back to my standard look;
After stints with the best-friend-but-not, the gym-junkie, or that-random-exotic-foreign person, I realised the person for me was the type I was initially inclined towards;
I've tried every combination of work-hobby-study-social life possible, from being utterly care-free, to being home-bound and glued to my books, just to realise that for me, my best performance is when I keep myself occupied and try to balance the four;
I have fluctuated in weight from a significant amount more, to a significant amount less than my current size, only to find my happy balance was what I started off with initially.
Re-inventing the wheel is an essential part of growing up- if you haven't tried what else is out there, how will you know that something is really for you? Once you know for certain that the thing you are pursuing is a conscious decision of yours, and not a limitation randomly placed upon you, the veil of mystery of the unknown is lifted, and your pursuit starts to be filled with more confidence and passion- you are less likely to be one of those people who looks back on things years later, dwelling on the "what if"s. As long as you learn from your experiences, and don't become a cyclic tragedy, then reinvent away, and do so without shame.