Lately, I’ve noticed that everyone is trying to “find” themselves. Or maybe it’s just because I’m in my twenties and this is the topic at hand. It’s sort of like, now that you are in a dazzling amount of debt from tuition bills, we all think, well not everything has to be about money…I need to go climb a mountain, discover who I am, eat granola bars, and watch eagles. Eagles don’t need money, and they are really freakin’ majestic.
And, weirdly, that seems to work. You go on a hike to clear your mind and everything seems perfectly lucid when you return. Or you read a Buzzfeed article entitled, “20 Things 20-Somethings Should Know” and it’s all about traveling the world on a few bucks and living a life of creativity and pleasure. And everything comes into focus. All the decisions you have made or will make are laid out in front of you.
But then the weekend ends. And you return to work. And you realize that you need to put food in your mouth and a roof over your head, and while you are always working towards your dream, you are going to have to supplement yourself with something right now or you will faint on your desk. I mean, brain cells need to eat after all, although we want passion alone to sustain us.
And this “self-discovery” seems to continue in a very vicious, cyclical nature. A constant stream of questions: “Who am I?” “What will I do with my life when I grow up?” “When will people stop reminding me that I am grown up?”
But what most people fail to realize is that you never stop being the person you are. You don’t need to find yourself, and you don’t need to torture yourself with half-prophetic questions. You just need to create yourself, and build your life by living it. Every quirky aspect of your personality and every horrible awkwardness you possess will always be in full view, no matter how much you would prefer to shine or hide them. The person you were when you were 6 is pretty much the person you are when you are 26, with a few more life experiences and a little less whining. (Okay, maybe the same amount of whining.) The cells in your body change every 7 years, but you don’t really.
And yes, this also means that people don’t really change, despite whatever line your ex-boyfriend is feeding you. A drug addict may recover, but they will struggle with the idea of addiction for the rest of their lives. And that’s okay. Because that’s a part of them, and if they didn’t have that piece, they wouldn’t be the person they are today.
However, and I would like to be very clear on this next point, people are always in full control of their decisions and their happiness, which is decidedly different from who you are on the inside. Also, who you are or what your background is should never predetermine what your fate will be or what you are capable of. And if you let that happen, that’s your own fault.
So, to recap: you are who you are but not always who you have to be. Good?
With this in mind, I would like to explain how I make any big decision in my life: I ask myself if my younger self would be proud of me. Sometimes, I don’t like the answer. But I realize that I can change the course of my life at any time, and if my younger self isn’t beaming from ear to ear right now, she will be soon enough.
Occasionally, I even think about how my younger self would address me. How she would perceive my problems. I think she would sound a little something like this…
Dear Older Me,
Hi, older me. I hope you are doing good…and that you are tall. Are you tall? I’ve always pictured you as tall. And really confident. Can you write me back and tell me how that’s going?
Anywho, we both know that you aren’t too good at making decisions, but maybe you should just go with what your heart tells you. Nah, that’s stupid. Have you tried flipping a coin?
Okay, I’m kidding. Okay, I know you probably feel like the white crayon in the box right now (ignored) or maybe that really pretty blue color (abused), which is weird because we don’t even like to color. But you have to get back on the horse, which is a better metaphor for both of us considering that we love horses. Oh, did mom and dad finally break down and get us a pony? It would be nice to know so I can stop putting it on my Christmas list…
But really. You know what I’m going to say. You need to remember to be yourself and not care what people think. It’s easy to blend in, but it takes courage to stand out. You know all about that though, considering your wardrobe. Don’t be afraid of taking chances because they could have good results. Remember when you tried waffles for the first time? Now they are your favorite food! But stay away from cheese…
And it’s that simple. I suddenly remember what was (and what will always be) important to me. I may sound a little bit like Gollum, (we wants the preciousssss) but it’s a small price to pay for some intense clarity.
In the end, it all comes down to being rather than doing. This is why eagles are so majestic, by the way. They aren’t worried about how to be an eagle. They just take comfort in the knowledge that they are one. If we want to get technical, it’s called instinct. I think it’s high time we all stop clicking articles to find our calling and declutter our instincts and intuition. If you are unsure where to find them inside yourself, just lock yourself in a quiet room until you can only hear your heartbeat. Then, listen to what it tells you.
Nah, that’s stupid. Did you try flipping a coin?
But really, when was the last time you really listened to yourself? And when was the last time you let your inner child speak?