Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Changing and Looking Ahead
Last week I turned down a job I would have jumped all over were I the recent college graduate I was six years ago.
I didn't apply said job. It just unexpectedly (but not surprisingly) presented itself in my inbox late last week. Just one of life's many options drifting through the universe, and an option that I stopped and inspected on its way past, then sent it back on its merry little way bouncing through the world. The timing wasn't right, it was too big of a commitment, and although we never got around to discussing financials, I have a strong suspicion that the pay was below the modest grade I've worked up to and come to expect.
Part of me's still a little astounded at how easily I dismissed an opportunity that I would have fought tooth and nail for six years ago. How could the "future self" I'd projected back in college and the actual "me now" differ so much? Then, on the other hand, how could I have ever expected my predicted self and real self to be identical? (That said, I fully expect my 38-year-old self to totally have all of her shit together. *snort*)
I was listening to a public radio story a while back where the interviewee pointed out that we never really know who we are. Sure, we have names, careers, habits, likes and dislikes, but none of those things are the core of our being. To deal with this mystery of self that haunts us our entire lives, we're prone to adopting labels to trying to push ourselves into boxes so that others can understand who we are.
Accepting the job that floated through my inbox last week would have helped solidify my writer label; it would have helped me define myself to world as "I'm Ada - I write, I edit, I publish." But I couldn't accept a job just because I have a certainty affinity for labeling myself as a writer. I had to look at the big picture and see what was best for all of me and this job just wasn't right.
This recent event was more proof that despite the aversion most of us have to change, we're constantly changing, pushing against our boundaries and stretching in ways we often can't imagine before the fact. But then it's funny to think, how, in those early days of dipping our toes into adulthood how we're drawn to boxing up our personalities and selves: I am a writer. Full stop. How confused my 22-year-old self would have been to think in just a handful of years I would have picked up labels like "manager" and "small business owner", while my writer label is kept tucked under an arm while juggling everything else. Yet with each passing year we gather more and more labels, which can confuse and contradict each other.
I fully look forward the labels I'll add to "me-ness" of my future. But for 2013, I'm also planning to look at some of the labels past "me"s had adopted, labels that have grown a bit dusty and worse for the wear. It's time to polish off the fiction writer label again. On the other hand, the radio commentator label was given a fond, but much needed final farewell very early in 2013.
While I'm not making any grand resolutions for this year that's just begun - after all, New Year resolutions aren't my thing although last year I made a set of fiscal resolutions which I happily kept and continue to keep - I do find January to be excellent time for reassessment and laying out action plans (be it my 2013 Etsy business plan or simply completing monthly blog editorial calendars). And so here I am, pondering the me that was, wondering about the me that will be, but most of all, trying to develop create a most me-ish of lives.
"Am I living it right?" It's a question that trips us up our entire lives because there's really no right answer. But by taking time to look at the nearly constant reincarnations of ourselves, at least we gain the knowledge that life we lead is one of our own choosing.
How have you changed from the person you once were? What are you looking forward to this year?