As you “grow up” you’re constantly trying on identities for size. I, personally, can look back on my own life and specifically label the identities which I was portraying at specific moments in time. Sometimes I look back and I regrettably think about how different I used to be, and in a way, it makes me sad. It makes me wonder if the person I am today is just as fleeting as the person I was 10 years ago.
I do believe that my truest deepest values have always and will always remain consistent, however my priorities are always changing. And, that’s what makes me worry. I’ve been so many things. I was a shy kid, a violinist, a dork, a runner, a scene kid, a nerd, a stoner, a slacker, a hippie, a festival freak, a writer, a photographer, a hipster, an extrovert, an introvert, a guitarist, a skater, a beach bum, a listener, a counselor, a girlfriend, a player, a gangster, a spiritual gangster, a yogi, a Buddhist, a Hindu, an atheist, an agnostic, …the list can go on.
But, I believe that all the personal struggles that we have today are caused by us trying to pinpoint just one identity. We’re constantly trying to fulfill the identity in which we relate to most at a specific point in time.
But, this causes two big problems:
- It places a big pair of imaginary shoes in front of us, and expects us to wiggle and squeeze until they somehow come to be the perfect size. It’s impossible. Either the shoe fits, or it doesn’t. There’s no point in trying to make a shoe fit, or deal with a shoe that isn’t comfortable. In the long run, they will give us blisters. It will hurt. And, we will regret spending the money on them in the first place.
- It sweeps our past identities under the rug. They are not gone, and we know that. We know that every single day that we walk into our houses, and step our feet across that rug, they are lying there quietly, underneath it. We constantly feel guilt for keeping them there, but for whatever reason: whether it be attachment or just plain laziness, we cannot simply throw them away. We need them to be close, but not in sight.
Thus, we don’t feel content.
We feel guilty. We feel incompetent. We feel inadequate. Amateur. Inferior. Inept. Lacking. …Wanting.
And the worst part is..it’s no one’s fault. It’s all in our heads.
The bars that have been placed, were placed by our own hands. We are our toughest critics, and while this can be a beautiful and inspiring thing, it can also be extremely detrimental. It can slowly deteriorate our opinions of ourselves, which in turn lessens others opinions of ourselves. This only results in a slow downward spiral.
Depressing, isn’t it?
But, the thing is…it just doesn’t have to be. We have control. We are in charge. No, not of time, or fate, or other people, or the weather. But, we can choose how to react to the things in which we can’t control. And we can choose how we see ourselves. We can choose who we identify to be. But most importantly, we can choose how many identities we want to embrace.
That’s where the key unlocks the door. The moment when we realize that we don’t just have to be one type of person is a moment of enlightenment. It’s a moment of freedom. A moment of acceptance, not just of the way things happen in the world, but of ourselves, and every self we have ever been.
So, now we rejoice. We throw away those shoes that don’t fit, and we shake out that rug, dancing barefoot in the glittery dust of past identities which once laid dormant beneath it.
Instead of reminiscing, we resurrect! We embrace!
We come to the realization that we can be everything we’ve ever been and everything we’ve ever wanted to be, all at the same time.
Life is a beautiful gift and we are presented with boundless possibilities. The myth that states that we have to choose to be one thing, or that we have to focus on just one thing if we ever want to make it work, is a slap in the face to the magical potentiality of our universe.
I am who I was yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Accepting this fills me with confidence. Instead of making me feel inconsistent, it makes me feel elegantly versatile.
And that… is a great feeling.