A Post About Self Discovery and All That Jazz

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

You know all those cliches about discovering yourself and getting to know the real you? Yeah, I've heard them all before too, but never really paid much attention to them. Mostly because I didn't get it. Why do I need to discover myself? I'm not a mystery. How can you not know who you are?

I was probably taking it a little too literal, but whatever.

Lately, I've been thinking about those cliches a little more, because I get it now.

There are some things that we know about ourselves and have always known. And then there are things that we don't discover until we're put into new — and sometimes uncomfortable — positions. For example, I've always known that I am not a morning person. I've had twenty-four years to get used to that little fact about myself. Something that I didn't know about myself was that I write better first thing in the morning rather than in the afternoon. I probably would have never realized that little tid-bit if I hadn't taken a job at a marketing agency where I had to learn to juggle copywriting, data gathering, social media editing, and pay-per-click campaigns all in the course of an eight-hour day. Learning little things like that about myself has helped me to create schedules that work for me.

Of course there are always times when deadlines get moved and I'm left putting together a press release at the last minute, but — if given the choice — I will always try to make it easier on myself by writing first thing in the morning.

That's just a tiny example, but learning this has made me realize that the whole "discovering yourself" cliche is really just about making things easier on yourself. And it all starts with learning your preferences and reactions to different situations.

 Mark and I had a long conversation over brunch last weekend about the difference between people who live in the same place their entire life and people who move around a lot. Bear with me while I tie this into my blog post.

There's something to be said about living in the same place your entire life. From birth, through grade school, college, and then the work force — your life evolves in the same place with (mostly) the same people. People in this lifestyle are more confident, I think. The reason being they know their world, the people in it, their routines, where the grocery store is, who works there, where the speed traps are around town, etc.

People who move around a lot don't have that luxury of knowing, but they get to learn a lot of new things about themselves. When you're forced outside of your comfort zone, you discover how you deal with things that you've never had opportunities to deal with before. I haven't moved around a whole lot in my life. Moving away to college was the biggest move so far, but that move taught me a lot. I learned that people aren't always nice and not everyone knows who your family is. Sometimes the grocery store is on the wrong side of town and the lady in the library isn't as sweet as the one you remembered growing up. But learning how you deal with a not-so-nice librarian or how to fight traffic across town to the grocery store is a self-discovering process. It's not always fun, but it's good for us.

Being stretched by new experiences and getting more acquainted with our personal preferences as a result is never a bad thing. That's how we learn about our likes and dislikes, and how to create a world that we're happy living in. A world that doesn't involve writing after 3:00 in the afternoon, for example.

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