By: Emilie Janzen

How often do you sit and wonder where you are? Today, as I sat on a rock on the edge of the Ganges, Mr. Cola gave us a prompt to consider – where am I? We were asked to consider not just the name of the city or location, but where are you in life? What does the place make you feel through different perspectives? Who are the people who make up the place? I often move through life and places at a million miles an hour and forget to embrace and observe the changing world and the change within myself.

The few weeks leading up to this trip, my life was changing and moving at what I would consider 2 million miles an hour and barely did I find the time to sit down for two seconds and absorb all the change that was happening and coming. Within three weeks, I graduated high school, signed up for college classes, sat through 6 hours of college orientation, competed in two sailing national championships, and traveled 43 hours half way around the world to a small camp in the foothills of the Himalayas. Even as we travelled from Pancheshwar to Rishikesh, everything was just moving around me and I never got the chance to even realize where am I and how this place could change me. Now, as I sit on a rock with my feet in the water watching the raging Ganges, I am able to internally reflect while considering where I am. To me, a lot self reflection, especially in nature, means considering what the deeper meaning and connections of the things that are surrounding me. When you sit next to the Ganges, on surface level you see a swiftly moving river surrounded by tall green mountains with large rocks and shiny sand lining the banks. As you learn and observe closer you can see the change of the river as it flows over every rock and notice the spiritual impact of the place on the Hindus who travel just to bathe themselves in the river. For me I found peace in the river. I noticed the ways in which I relate to the river in its fast moving pace and the constant small and large changes it experiences every second.

Another important thing to consider when asking the question of “where am I?” is to think about the people who make up the place and the people who have an effect on the change within yourself. After our hike, we sat in camp and had a translated conversation with a 16 year old boy who works at the camp we are staying at. After many basic surface level questions and learning a little about his life, we asked if he had any questions for us. The first thing he asked was not our names or what our favourite song was – he asked us what our dreams were. This was a pretty deep question which made me stop and think about my dreams. It made me realise how little I know about where I want to be in a few years and what my dreams actually are. Through all the questions and getting to know him, I realized how everyone has a slightly different experience. Everyone flows down their own path and it’s important to not only reflect on your own path, but the paths of others.

Another question to consider after asking “where am I?” is “where do I want to be?”Sometimes, in order to understand where you are in the moment you have to zoom out a little and look at the big picture of what your end goal is. What are you trying to accomplish? And when can you try to find two minutes to sit back and ask – where am I?

3 responses to “Where Am I?”

  1. Kelly Janzen Avatar
    Kelly Janzen

    I love your reflection and the fact that you are getting the time to just “be” so you can focus on you and start thinking about what you want out of life now that you’re moving into the adult world. What do you actually really want your life to look like? Not what do other people want for you. The good news is that you have time, you don’t have to have it all figured out now but it’s great to dream. When you were really young you told me your dream was to go to India because you learned a lot about it from a classmate that was from there. Well, dreams do come true. It’s such a special place. I can’t wait to hear more when I see you.

  2. Mollie Avatar

    Emilie, you ended up on the banks of the Ganges, the Mother Ganga, at such an interesting moment in your life. It makes me think of the question “How did I get here?” Maybe, we can all determine on the surface how we end up in the places and with the people around us, but I hope that you continue to dig into those questions that Mr. Cola asked you to reflect on as you find yourself sitting on the banks of many rivers and oceans in your future. Thanks for helping me to pause and reflect on my current location and place in life- slowing down and observing is always a helpful practice.

  3. jbyersccs Avatar

    Emilie, it is great to see you taking a minute to reflect. Your last few months have been nuts, right? But in all good ways. One way to look at it is to think “I am amazing that I’m am able to do all of these things simultaneously and keep moving forward, balanced, strong and successful.” And that is true. You students can “multitask” like no others AND you are soaking it in; every move and every minute is shaping you. You are engaged in positive things that will make you ever stronger and wiser. The answers are not always right at hand when you ask “where am I and where am I going?” It turns out that you have hit on two of the three most elemental questions of human kind: “where did I come from, where am I now, and where will I go.” All about finding purpose while finding meaning. You are ON IT! Well done.

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