Our Condition: Finding Self

Our Condition: Finding Self
Finding yourself is not really how it works. You aren’t a ten-dollar bill in last winter’s coat pocket. You are also not lost. Your true self is right there, buried under cultural conditioning, other people’s opinions, and inaccurate conclusions that you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are. “Finding yourself” is actually returning to yourself. An unlearning, an excavation, a remembering of who you were before the world got its hands on you.
— Emily McDowell


Reading this I immediately thought of the grit it takes to be human. Regardless of where we come from or where we are going, it takes some grit to make it happen (link to AD). Especially today when it is so easy to lose sight of yourself in the fast-paced world we live in today. I like to think that my steady-state is that of a forever search. Finding “me” would signal the end of many of the things that have defined me for so long. There are certainly times when I feel most like myself, but even that is hard to define when there is only a loosely defined end goal.

Today is the last day of my undergrad career, a story itself. By no means has it been a journey I made easy for myself. In many ways, a journey made more difficult because I buried myself under so many other people’s opinions or unfounded conclusions that I allowed to become a part of me. In the past few years, signaled by the disparity between who I wanted to be and who I thought I was, I have done some serious unlearning, and certainly excavation of those opinions and conclusions.

This morning I sat with my advisor laughing about the past five years and what lays ahead. They are decidedly linked, past and future; an amalgam of people, places, and circumstance. The links even clearer after removing heaps of cultural conditioning, other’s opinions, and those damn conclusions we proudly drape over ourselves.

There are some major changes coming down the line for me right now. I mean let’s talk about the fact that in just two months I will be neck deep in a new job, and Alaska. I think it would be very easy to be consumed with fear or anxiety about that reality, but I am so comfortable knowing that I am moving in the right direction—whatever that may be. Adding to the comfort is knowing that I have found a balance between being my own greatest critic and my own best friend. The future is bright, my friends. Happy to have you along for the trip.