On reconciling who you’ve been and who you are becoming, by Hannah.
By the time we’ve spent a few years in college (or whatever the equivalent), we’ve probably found something out about our “identity” – I am a quiet/loud person, I am good at ________. I like _____, I don’t like ______. We’ve taken enough psychology classes to have at least a basic understanding of our personality type – and there’s a good chance that we understand a few fancy acronyms like MBTI. We “know” who we are (or, so we think).
However, then the post-college-freshman years come along, and we realize that we know absolutely nothing. We start to have friends or co-workers with Master’s degrees, and realize that while they are intelligent, they still make mistakes and get computer viruses and forget to do their laundry. In other words, we realize how much knowledge exists, and how very human we are, and prone to greatness only if we try. Singers aren’t always born with American Idol ease. Biological researchers don’t find a cure for a new type of cancer once a week. Rather, the vastness of knowledge spans above as great, unreachable, and impregnable to attain.
Still, just as we begin to realize just how little we know, we also realize how much we have grown. Somehow, many of the statements we made about ourselves from high school no longer hold true. I am good at ______ changes from I am good at playing basketball, to I am good at using data entry systems. Two years ago, we probably didn’t have a clue what a data entry system was, or why we would need to use one – much less become proficient at it. Take “data entry” and apply it to whatever skills you have gained in your job, career, schoolwork, or other studies. No longer are we in the place where identity crisis characterizes our lives like in the multitude of adolescent TV dramas; however, something has changed. Just as we discover ourselves, we find that we’ve outgrown our self-definitions.
One reason why I took such a long hiatus from writing at this blog is because I began to realize that I was undergoing the same changes. Before I could write again in an authentic way, I had to reconcile the old with the new- understand fully where I’ve been, as well as give myself some room to grow. Sometimes we need silence. Sometimes it’s better to refrain from writing and experience a little more of life, before having new insights to share with others. This part of my own journey reflects something of greater significance: a need for us to give ourselves permission to grow, even if we’re past the “growing years”.
Yes, you probably won’t gain any more inches in height any time soon, and you probably already have a high school diploma (and maybe even a degree), but as we reach greater maturity and the bill-paying, obligation-having, nitty-gritty part of adulthood, it’s important to realize that we still have room to grow. And change. And outgrow and re-outgrow definitions of ourselves that we established long ago. Maybe today you are a working professional, or a young mother, or a bride-to-be. Maybe you are a college student that (finally) knows what you want to do (sort of). No matter where you are at in life at this very moment, give yourself some permission to change. To improve. To mature. To be yourself, plus another year of knowledge, study, and work expertise. You’re still a work in progress- and you’re not finished yet.
To find out more about Hannah K., visit our writer’s page.
Art Credit: Pinterest