“Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
Humor me briefly and pretend that this quote isn’t something straight out of a cheap romantic comedy – because even despite its simplicity, I like it.
It’s not particularly groundbreaking or profound – but it’s onto something.
This move to Des Moines has prompted a reoccurring reminder from my mom that “life is starting.”
Of course life was happening while I was in grade school and then high school and then college and then working on the campaign this fall, but the idea that “life is starting” now does bear some weight.
Because as I’ve begun to make decisions for myself – decisions that are as both as big as what city I choose to live in and as small as what color couch to put in my living room (lol just kidding I can’t afford a living room, I live in a studio) – they are now a direct reflection of me and my preferences.
In some ways, they’ve begun to define my life – hence, it’s “starting.”
And as a result, I’ve become more aware of the power I have over the person I’m growing into. Kind of like the quote says – I suddenly feel that I’m creating my life rather than just living it.
Additionally, I’m getting to know myself in an entirely new way.
(I’m so sorry for that cliche – I cringed too.)
For example, last Sunday, I realized that I hate to cook.
And you’re thinking, “wait, what do you mean you ‘realized’ you hate to cook?” But seriously, I did.
I was fighting the urge to buy a salad from Heirloom in downtown Iowa City because although that’s what I really wanted to eat, Heirloom is wicked expensive and I never eat at home. So, in an attempt to do the right thing, I stopped at Walmart to get some groceries to make myself dinner.
I was walking through the freezer section looking for buffalo chicken strips (for buffalo chicken salad) and growing increasingly frustrated at not being able to find them, when I began to surrender to the fact that I might have to make something else.
And in that moment, as I considered what else I might make, I thought, “man, I really hate to cook.”
There you have it. Right there, in the middle of Walmart, I realized that I am not that girl who pins recipes on her Pinterest boards or flips to the Food Network on Saturday afternoons.
(Admittedly, I have pinned food on Pinterest – but because I wanted to eat it, not because I wanted to cook it.)
It’s not that I ever thought I was the kind of girl who liked to cook – it’s just that I never really thought about the fact that I wasn’t.
FYI, this debacle ended with a trip through the Starbucks drive thru.
Now, I do try (keyword: try) to be the kind of girl who cooks despite the fact that I dislike cooking, mostly because cooking at home is healthier for both body and wallet than eating out for every meal.
And I do hope that just as my city and couch preferences are a reflection of me, this effort (to choose the smarter option even though it’s not the option I prefer) is a reflection of me too. (Honestly, I would prefer to just eat Chipotle for every meal – but that’s not really the kind of person I want to be.)
Life is not defined by one all-encompassing moment of self-discovery; it is defined by our choices, our preferences, and by all of our little moments of self-awareness (like when we’re standing in Walmart holding a bag of lettuce and thinking, “I’m so glad I can dump this straight into the bowl”).
So as I embark upon this new journey, I plan to dive into it head-first, deliberately – rather than simply falling in and letting life happen.
I am in control of the person I become.
And yes, it is true that I don’t particularly enjoy cooking.
But I plan to be a person that cooks anyway, because that’s the kind of person I want to be.
I choose to be a person that works hard at my job, acts professionally, dresses well, and is always open to learning, because that’s the kind of person I want to be.
I am constantly affected by my Catholic faith and always trying to grow in it, because that’s the kind of person I want to be.
So in some ways, I am who I am, ie: the type of person who has no qualms about dumping her random thoughts onto a blog on the internet.
But in others, I aim to create myself anew.
Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.