1. Find a furry friend. Via bit.ly A cuddly puppy, a furry hamster, a fluffy bunny – you’re probably already tearing through PetFinder to get your fix, so adopt a pet of your own to love and take care of! Giving an animal a home will benefit you both, as long as you have the time and resources to devote to doing so. 2. Talk to strangers! First Abroad / Via firstabroad.com Forget stranger danger (sorry, Mom and Dad). A simple “hello” at the coffee shop is all it takes - you never know who you might meet by just introducing yourself or making small talk. Interacting with people and taking the time to be kind can open doors and maybe even lead to extraordinary friendships. Everyone has a unique story worth sharing. 3. Take up a hobby. First Abroad / Via firstabroad.com Surf’s up! Or you can try something else new if you’re not athletically inclined (helloooo, knitting). Maybe you already have a passion or you’re still looking for an activity to pass the time. Take up hiking, painting, cooking – you name it. You could find you’ve had a hidden talent all along. Make the most of it by joining a group, such as a book club or softball team! 4. Quit your day job. First Abroad / Via firstabroad.com We focus so much on our careers and being successful, but if you don’t love what you do, it can be hard to find happiness. If you find yourself daydreaming about something else every time a new assignment crosses your desk, it might be time for a change. Do what you love and love what you do! 5. Donate time instead of money. First Abroad / Via firstabroad.com Helping others can give your life new meaning. If you can spare even an hour a week to do something nice for someone else, like reading a book to an elderly neighbor or teaching multiplication to kids at the local elementary school, it will make a big difference. From building houses in underprivileged neighborhoods to coaching little league teams, there are plenty of volunteering opportunities that suit all different skill sets! 6. Explore new places. First Abroad / Via firstabroad.com By changing your surroundings, you’ll be forced to change your perspective. Traveling is an incredible experience and can help you discover where you fit into the world. You may never come home! Gap year travel providers such as First Abroad offer many different options for seeing the world. 7. Put down your phone. First Abroad / Via firstabroad.com Put down the phone and step away! Technology may make our lives easier, but it also pulls us in and keeps us from appreciating the people and things around us. Stop through your phone’s screen and make some memories instead! 8. ¡Aprénde un idioma nuevo! First Abroad / Via firstabroad.com ¡Hola! Knowing a second language is not only a great conversation-starter but is also a great skill to have. Better yet – take those skills abroad and use them to volunteer or make some international friends! ¡Que impresionante! 9. Rekindle old friendships. First Abroad / Via firstabroad.com Ever wonder what happened to your best friend from grade school? Social media makes it easy for us to rekindle friendships from the past and the ease at which you can fall back into your old friendships will make you feel good about the bonds you’ve formed throughout your life. 10. Spend time with family. Via nerdacy.com While many people may dread family time, spending time with those you love can help you rediscover things about yourself and make you feel invigorated to take on the world again (and become the favorite child or grandchild!) Take a road trip back to your hometown, write your grandmother a note or simply pick up the phone to call your parents and siblings. 11. Get some fresh air. First Abroad / Via firstabroad.com We spend so much time staring at screens and sitting at desks – get outside and see what Mother Nature has to offer! Whether you’re exploring in your own backyard or seeing the better known wonders of the world, being in the great outdoors is can be an incredibly gratifying experience. 12. Challenge yourself. First Abroad / Via firstabroad.com Take that next step and get outside your comfort zone – we often grow the most from trying the things that are difficult for us. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, you should “do at least one thing a day that you’re afraid to do.” Whether that means finally working up the courage to talk to your crush, hitting up a Crossfit class for the first time or even skydiving, give it a go – you may be surprised where it takes you!As soon as you take the initiative to find meaning in your life, you'll quickly forget something was ever missing. All that's left to do is put yourself out there! Jim Zambrano is CEO of First Abroad, which provides affordable gap year opportunities to a wide range of American travelers ages 18-30. First Abroad is a sister company of Gap 360, the leading gap travel company based in the United Kingdom.