College is clearly a tumultuous time. Although I am completely in love with my city and my school, it is a lot different than high school. Minneapolis feels like a whole different world than little old Bloomer. As much as you might be thinking, ‘Lauren get to the point’, I swear I have one and I’m getting there. I know I am not the first freshman to get to college and have no idea what they are doing or who they want to be, or for that matter, who they are. If you haven’t already guessed I am very much in that boat. As it turns out, the proverbial boat is very crowded, and not just with all these lost college students.
Filled with confusion, I did what I have always done. I read. I turned to some brave ladies that were lost far before I was, hoping they could help me out. Similar to many other times in my life, these books did not disappoint. The first on my journey was Elizabeth Gilbert and her book, Eat Pray Love, which I am sure you have heard of because I think everyone and their grandma read this a few years back when the movie came out. I joined the movement a little late, but late is better than never.
Eat Pray Love was a story about how Gilbert got a divorce, dealt with her depression, and found God, all while traveling the world. This woman took control of her life by seeing the world and living in ways she wasn’t used to. I really loved this, I loved reading about how this women became her own. At the time of reading it, I wasn’t very happy with all of her choices along the way, like spending more time at the ashram and getting involved with Felipe. I wanted her to stick to her plans because plans were something I relied on. I think now that I have had some time to reflect on the book, I like that she was able to get into a healthy relationship after healing from a few not-so-healthy relationships. And since managing my anxiety, I respect her being able to change her plans. I think that was brave of her. I think her whole journey was brave of her. I would really recommend this book to anyone thinking of reading it, there is a reason it was so popular, that’s because it’s good.
Elizabeth Gilbert has many other books, not all nonfiction, but most recently Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear has caught my eye. It is partially due to the fact that I am pretty much a middle aged woman in spirit, and partially due to Eat Pray Love being the beginning of my self exploration book binge. I hope I get around to reading her others and they don’t just end up on my endless to-be-read list.
The next two books that have been huge for me were both by Cheryl Strayed, my new hero. I started off with Wild, because of another movie adaptation I have yet to see. Wild is about how Cheryl dealt with herself and the death of her mother. Cheryl Strayed went to the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, just like me so obviously that filled me with enough joy to make it through midterms. Cheryl tried to deal with her problems in different ways, with drugs and affairs before she divorced a man she loved and hiked the PCT. Her story was amazing to me, she up and left everything she knew to hike and then just stay in Portland. The story was much more about her emotional journey than her hike although her hike was amazing. I am so in awe of this woman and if I grew up to be one third as cool as she is I will die happy.
I also read Brave Enough, also by Cheryl Strayed. I read this on one afternoon during Spring Break when I spent a few hours just hanging out in Barnes and Noble and valuing my alone time. I picked it up because the title has the word brave in it and kept it because I saw Cheryl Strayed. The word brave is very important to me because that is one thing I really want to be, those of you who know me know that I have this word tattooed on my arm. It’s a great reminder. Brave Enough is just a small book full of words of wisdom and to anyone who needs them, it is infinitely helpful and I would sit in Barnes and Noble forever to read it.
I am not done reading books about exploration and I doubt that I will ever be. I’ll be sure to let you know if I come by any more life-changers and I am always looking for recommendations. Hopefully, I’ll be able to talk about some more great ones soon.