Thursday, September 27, 2007

Finding vs. Creating Ourselves

Unfortunately, I've inherited my mom's gene that makes me want to collect stuff. In the last few years, I've tried to live simpler and clutter-free (less is more!), so I'm always fighting my temptation to save trinkets, mementos, and what I call "bits of potential" (things that could be used creatively for a future project).

I've been better about it, but with this new business I've justified the collection of all things inspirational - usually magnets, greeting cards, journals, etc. all with a pithy quote somewhere. I sometimes can't stand that I like this stuff because it's so cheesy, but other times it serves as a good reminder. Here's one from a greeting card that I like:

"Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself."

It helps me remember that life isn't about passively waiting to uncover or discover something, but rather it's about taking the responsibility to positively affect the future. Even though we might feel lost at times, I don't think the answer is digging deeper to find what's hidden; instead I think of it as building up the mountain of who/what you want to be.

There's a lot of power in knowing that you can create opportunities for yourself. Especially when your situation in life changes, if you wait around for the "answer" to materialize, you'll probably feel a lot less in control. We each have the ability to positively affect our future through the decisions we make (big and small), which means that everyday we are choosing/creating our lives.

"Finding yourself" also implies that there's a right answer or a desired end-state out there for you, which isn't really the case (unless the desired end-state is something generic like being happy or having a career you enjoy). I believe that we continually evolve and develop over the course of our lives, so there isn't really one answer as to "who we are" because aside from our core beliefs and values, we are always trying to improve and better define who we are.

Maybe instead we should say we're "finding ways to create ourselves".
  • Am I splitting hairs or do you agree?


Rob said...

It's neat how a pithy slogan can sometimes speak deeply to a person. I agree that it sometimes takes some reminding, encouraging, even goading, to be proactive about doing things in life to better your situation and increase satisfaction with yourself. It's like accelerating to the ball in sports; some people are naturally good at it, but most everyone can be better at it and often need constant reminding. But creating oneself requires not just proactivity and commitment, it requires a goal, an ideal self to strive toward, and for some of us, defining that goal or ideal in a realistic way (the mental creation, or visualization) is as difficult as the follow-through (the physical creation). I think it's great that you are able to help people with both aspects.

Kristin said...

Remember that you have already over-achieved the idea of collecting! you once told me that you were overcoming the need to buy and collect things by taking a picture of it. It gave you the same gratification as if you had purchased it, yet you didnt have to put it on your shelf. The art of taking happiness from one moment and keeping it forever does not always have to be translated through a trinket. It can be done via a saying, joke, photograph, or even text! Great examples are taking a picture of something, or a catch phrase (HP RIP!). No trinket could encompass the joy we had over the weekend we coined that phrase in Chicago. Remember the art of taking things with you is not limited to the physical, and just cuz your mom choosed to implement it this way, does not mean that you cant and havent already put another spin on it! Enjoy your collections, both virtual and physical!