A couple weeks back, my friend and I took a road trip. We started in Charlotte, drove to Ashville, then over to Wilmington for a day at the beach. From there, we headed to Charleston then stopped in Savannah on our way to Atlanta. After a couple days we drove over to New Orleans, then up to Memphis and Nashville. Like with any road trip, car conversations ran the gamut, but there was one topic we couldn’t steer clear of. Self Development.We talked for hours about how it seems that what people are missing these days, and I’m talking about both men and women, is the phase of getting to know yourself. There are too many pressures we all deal with that can make it impossible to enter, entertain, or even experience this stage of development. But even after all the excuses and negative vocabulary, the truth is that by cutting this chapter in your book, it could possibly end without you knowing whether you were a part of it.Obviously, I’m not an expert or guru – I’m just a regular girl, originally from the Midwest, who knew that at some point I was going to have to start thinking for myself and stop relying on, and, allowing, family and friends (whether they knew it or not) to influence how I looked at the world. It took me a long time to understand the person I was, am and who I want to be, and I work at it, daily. Of course when we’re younger we don’t know enough, so it makes sense that who we are is a reflection of who we surround ourselves by. But as we grow older do we actually take time to think about the type of person we want to become? I’m not talking about occupation – I’m talking about as beings. Too many times I hear the phrase, “Well, this is just who I am.” And it’s not said in a positive tone, but there’s a negative connotation to it. To be good at anything it takes practice. Think about yourself as a writer would a novel, or an artist a painting. It is an ongoing process to master your craft. We’re cheating ourselves if we surrender to the notion that we don’t play an active role in deciding what kind of person we want to be. Open yourself up to sitting for an hour to identify your fears, anxieties, desires, and wants; to listen and trust your own voice more than anyone else. Take the time to sit and think on your own. By taking the time to be alone, you make it easier to exist independently within a crowd.