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7 Billion Authentic Stories

by Meghan Patulak 4 months ago in Advocacy

Happiness is a tricky term to define but I'm on a quest to uncover as many definitions as possible.

The Start of a Vision

In the wise words of Jim Carrey, I'm tired of living my life out of fear disguised as practicality. He once stated,

"What we want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it."

It's a phrase that broke me out of the monotony of 'success', the idea that your happiness is tied to the job you hold, the amount of money you're paid, and the education you earn. Happiness is a word with over seven billion definitions though, each dependent on the person asked. In my case, happiness is about letting go of what you thought your life was supposed to be, embracing where you are now, and understanding how truly special that is. So, in an unexpected turn of events, happiness, sprinkled with some advice from Jim Carrey, led me to where I am now: living a life created of my design rather than working tirelessly for someone else's dream.

Don't let me fool you, I truly enjoyed working, expanding productivity, and testing my limits within the workplace. But, after years of this "daily grind", I found life started to lack the one thing I can't live without, authenticity. It's funny that when we, as humans, begin to lack something vital to who we are, we immediately think back to the moments where that quality existed for us. In my specific case, authenticity existed while exploring the hidden corners of the world, immersing myself in an array of cultures that helped evolve my soul in ways I never thought possible. It's in those moments, living nomadically around the world, that gifted me the ability to unapologetically do what I love and make a life that is my own.

Sikkim, India

Whether it was scaling the side of an Icelandic volcano, or exploring the Himalayas studying Buddhism, traveling has brought me to people and places that helped shaped the woman I am today. Hearing everyone’s stories, learning the one thing they can’t live without, the passion that sparks their soul, is something I wish to continue to uncover. There are over seven billion people in the world, each with a different outlook on what it means to be ‘authentic’ and ‘happy’. I want to showcase this and share how beautifully unique each is to the world through photography and creative interviewing. Think “Humans of New York” but on an international scale.

In the grand scheme of things, I dream of having a blog/website dedicated to sharing people’s stories from around the world. It’s a chance to help individuals have their voice heard, their story shared, and to define what truly makes them authentic. The membership for the site would be a simple yearly subscription like that of the New York Times but with a twist. All proceeds would be donated to a different charity each year that is centered on environmental protection, human rights, and equal opportunity. If I’m going to be sharing the life narratives of these individuals, I have no desire to capitalize on them. I want to utilize this business platform to help donate to causes that can have a positive impact on the world, not continue to take away from it. Money will always be there for me when I need it but the greatest joy is helping give it to those who may not have the same opportunity.

To wrap this all up, I'm going to quote the legend, Jim Carrey, just once more:

"…you can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love."

The man may be a comedic genius, but he's got this whole advice on life figured out too. Whether this idea gets tossed to the wayside or manifests into the exact vision I see for it, I know that I took a chance on what I love in life rather than believing it was too out of reach.

Thorsmork, Iceland

Advocacy

Meghan Patulak

My stories are a mirror of my thoughts: beautifully chaotic but oddly relatable.

Instagram: meg.kathryn

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Meghan Patulak
Read next: Industrial Ecology

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