Who am I?
Who do I want to be?
Who have I been all this time?
About a year back I had somewhat of an existential crisis – ok maybe that is being a bit too dramatic, but truth be told I was at a point where I found myself asking all of life’s hard questions – about myself, my beliefs, my truths. Shortly after, I read Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and life as I knew it changed forever.
For the better part of my formative years, for reasons one too many, I established a lot of my “truths” based on situations and people rather than myself. I don’t think I can tell you a single point in time when I wandered away from who I was and would’ve naturally evolved to be a better version of. What I can tell you is that whoever I let myself become at the time, came from a place of fear, of not wanting to let anyone down – my family, my friends, my then boyfriend. I had decided my entire life in my early 20s, who I was, who I would be with, where I would live, everything. It was my truth and I couldn’t be convinced otherwise. I did a hell of a job convincing myself that this was it, this is what I wanted, even when it felt crazy and inauthentic, and quite frankly mismatched. But how could it be? I had spent years learning (rather teaching myself) these truths about my life.
This soon became the only way I knew how to live my life – to be led by decisions that were made for me by someone, or by myself based on someone else. And in a perfect world, I would’ve always been that person who wanted all those things for myself.
But of course, Life had other plans – it couldn’t let me live someone else’s, after all we all only get one, and I had to live mine.
If I were a simple girl,
I would be in a different world,
blowing my own bubbles of bliss,
I would be content to be a boy’s miss,
but Ambition said “Is this what you want?
A life of simple and calm?
When you can have New York City,
why would you choose mediocrity?”
As soon as I wrote these thoughts they were taken over by just one other.
“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” – Viktor Frankl
As I embraced the path of purpose, I shed the many layers of acquired truths to find acceptance in just one. Self-awareness.
Who am I? Passionate. Curious. Eclectic. Authentic. Someone who thrives in uncertainty, goes all in on her purpose, seeks out inspiration, and yearns to be an infinite learner. (And so it baffles me how I could ever settle in the “known” truths that I had learned to believe in.)
A year later – many emotions experienced, many relationships altered, many perspectives changed, many truths unlearned – here I am closer to the core of my being, my purpose, my truth.
Who I am may not yet be who I want to be, but I am also not who I used to be. I am what I am – real, authentic, natural. And that is all I ask for, to be a complete version of mysself in any given moment.
So what I’d like you to takeaway from my experience is aptly summarized in Barry Diller’s words – In order to be an infinite learner, it is equally important to unlearn, as it is to learn.
We are all going to evolve with time, and to fight that change due to fixations you built as truths at some point in the past will only hinder you from experiencing the true potential of your life. So learn to learn, but also to unlearn what you’ve learned so you can make place for new learnings – new truths, truths that are equally you, but more importantly, true to you.
P.S: I encourage you to listen to Barry’s interview with Reid Hoffman on Master of Scale’s Infinite Learner.
Wow! I very much got what you are trying to tell here. I am in the same shoes. Cheers to the unrelenting endeavors to unlearn somethings!
That’s really tough.