What words would you use to describe yourself? There's a myriad of words I've used over my life time... reader, shy, klutz, Christian, student, cowgirl, band geek, bio major. I wouldn't use any of these words to describe me now. Or would I? These are the words of my past.
Is my past not part of me?
It's our experiences that shape who we are at any given point in our lives. If you play a sport, you might call yourself an athlete. If you a play an instrument, a musician. But where do we draw the line, how do we know what actions are important enough to describe who we are. Just because you watch a movie doesn't necessarily make you film aficionado and listening to music doesn't automatically make you an audiophile. The truth is we choose who we are.
I always had this idea that who I am was predetermined the day I was born and I simply had to discover it. Like I was black box with a hole in the top and every thing that made me me was inside of it, but I couldn't see it. All I could do is reach my hand in and pull out one thing at a time and examine it. I imagine my self saying something like, "Huh, a book. I like books. I must be reader." I now realize how terrifying this idea is. It means there's a limit. Sooner or later I'll reach in and come back with nothing.
These days I have a very different outlook. I imagine myself reaching out for anything that interests me and examining it. I look at it's shape, color, texture and most importantly the way it makes me feel and then I make the decision whether it becomes a part of me or not. Oh and that container I store it in... it's no longer a black box with a small whole in the top. It's more like a clear vase so that others can see me too. Those words that I used to use to describe myself are in there, they're just clustered in the middle. I'm still a reader, a cowgirl, and a bio major; but my current words are plastered to the sides of the glass in a mosaic of sizes and patterns and colors.
My current words might be traveler, hop head, writer, gym rat, baker, aspiring yogi, and most recent... runner. This last word is the driving force behind new outlook. You see in a million years I would have never thought I would describe my self as a runner. If questioned I believe my old room mates would say there is nothing I hated more than running. I was pathetic in my attempts really... whining and complaining... and that was just the process of getting my shoes on. Yet here I am training for a half marathon in June. I've had knee problems, tendinitis and most recently four gigantic blisters (what idiot runs without socks anyway?) and yet I'm still running. Oddest of all? I'm enjoying it. That's not to say i'm particularly good at it, but the process of improving and pushing myself and exceeding my expectations is exhilarating.
George Bernard Shaw said, "Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."
Oddly enough I found that quote while in the process of writing this. Like just now. How crazy is that? How crazy is life? It has so much to offer as long as we're willing to reach out for it. Whether that becomes a part of who you are is up to you. So stop finding yourself... it's too limiting. Create your own mosaic and don't forget that the surface of the glass is ever changing if you allow it to be. It's okay for your words to shift to the interior and make room for new ones; they'll always be a part of you.