Thinking Aloud

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 / 7:22 PM

I hate that some people are always trying to "find themselves." As Cortney pointed out during one of our long summer talks, "What are you looking for?? You're RIGHT. THERE."

I went through my Tumblr archives earlier because that's what I do when I'm in a funk: I look for inspiration from the familiar, because if there's anything I've learned from Cheever, it's that we hear the same lessons over and over, yet we are not always prepared to listen when we hear at first.

September 10, 2010: "I'm beginning to realize life is full of moving and searching- the idea of 'finding your place in this world' is so misleading because your place in the world is going to change, or move, or be split between several places." Based on my opening quote and this one from last year, I would say Cortney is the wisest person I know. It's true: nothing is permanent and we're always moving, changing, growing in ways we can't even fathom ourselves in the moment. It's beautiful and terrifying (mostly terrifying) and it should feel like you're floating out there in the universe on an asteroid alone. "What the hell am I doing?" you'll ask yourself, and you won't have an answer.

To sum up my feelings on "finding yourself," I can only turn to one of the most cliché phrases I know: "Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself." It isn't about taking who we were in one place and transplanting it into our new environment. It isn't about holding onto those who made you who you were. You're in a new place, kid. Go make something of yourself.

Lately, I've found myself struggling with all of this. Here I am in an environment and place that is completely new to me. I go back and forth between wanting to be a hermit and wanting to be my old social self. But the anxieties I've grown to hide have manifested themselves in ways I sort of expected, and I think what I struggle with most right now is the attempt to purge myself of communications that can't be good for either party. I'm not growing in ways that will help others who are on that path toward creating themselves. I don't want to be the one to hold those people back, so maybe it's best to stop it right here.

This has gotten a bit emo, and I beg you to forgive me if you were expecting some deep philosophical insight into what it means to create yourself, but I've been exhausted lately and deeper in a funk. Maybe that impending thunderstorm will do me some good.

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  1. Traci, I am ever grateful that you are a genius with uncannily perfect timing.

  2. I'm going to write more than usual because I have a lot to say and you will soon regret knowing me.

    We are dealing with semantics. Finding yourself and creating yourself mean the same thing. I like the romantic implications of finding yourself, its like the hero going on a quest or adventure and returning with new skill, strength, and wisdom. Finding yourself is 'seed theory'- the idea that your talents, gifts, interests, passions, and dreams already exist within you. They are hard wired into your DNA and you have been exhibiting traits of who you will become since birth. To find is to discover, and you can't discover unless you do. It's daily work.

  3. Dear Caleb, SHUT UP.