On Finding Yourself

Sunday, April 7, 2019

I remember feeling so stressed in high school about not knowing what I was going to do with my life. Looking back, it sounds ridiculous, of course. I barely know what I'm doing now, why did I think I would, or even should, have it all figured out by 16? But I knew so many people who had their life mapped out that I felt like I was supposed to too. (Spoiler: None of those people's lives went according to plan, so in the end, it didn't matter anyway.)

I remember talking to my mom my freshman year of high school about how so-and-so already knew what college she was going to go to and what she was going to major in and what the heck, I'd barely thought about any of it, what was I going to do??

When the time came, I put off my college search as long as possible because I am notorious for completely shutting down when something important and intimidating has to be done. Still, I eventually decided on a college that I ended up really, really enjoying.

From there, I grew into myself gradually. I made friends my freshman year that didn't stick long-term but taught me valuable lessons. My major was undecided until the second half of my sophomore year, I think. Eventually, I joined the newspaper team where I practically begged to be a staff writer but was instead assigned a layout & design role that I ended up falling in love with. Nothing went how it was "supposed" to, and yet, it all worked out.

I never knew what I was doing, but I found myself along the way. I still am.  We do a lot of ~finding ourselves~ in college, but it happens after that, too, continuously.

The latest episode of "This Is Us" touched on this idea a bit. (I promise this is not spoiling anything.) In one scene, one of the characters says:

"I don't think we figure out exactly who we are all at once. I think it happens over a long period of time, piece by piece ... I think we go through this life slowly but surely, just collecting these little pieces of ourselves that we can't really live without until eventually we have enough of them to where we feel whole."

It's not that we're all broken in some way, it's just that there is so much out in the world to experience that it takes time to learn all of the lessons we need to grow into who we are. We're all just winging it. And sometimes shit happens in the middle that makes you have to kinda start over, in a way, and we find more of ourselves then.

I feel like I've learned a lot about myself just the past couple of years that I can't wait to discover what else is in store for the other three-quarters of my life, as I become a wife, a mother, stumble upon new hobbies, travel to new places, meet new people.

That's one of the best parts of life – discovering more about what you like, who you want to be, what you want to do. If you knew all of that by 18, the remaining 80 or so years would be boring, wouldn't they?

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