So, here’s the thing. For the last few years I have been hearing people say the same five words over and over again. At first, these words seemed filled with positivity. They were a sign of growing up, of leaving childhood, of finally getting to grips with this craziness we call life. These are those five words:
“I’m going to find myself.”
It started in college. Not content with the idea of staying in education, a few of my friends took gap years and boarded planes 6000 miles away to search distant lands for their so called selves. They came back a year later refusing to wear shoes (we live in the UK, are you fucking kidding me?), only ate plants (there’s not anything specifically wrong with this but stop trying to make me eat weird nettles), and spent most evenings complaining about consumerism (two months later I found them dressed to the nines drinking Bolly out of the bottle).
I suppose I should have been inspired, should have absorbed their new and improved ethics like a flower absorbs sun beams. But mainly I was worried that if they didn’t buy a pair of shoes soon, they were going to get broken glass or a needle stuck in their foot.
At the very same time, I was being told that going away to university would really help me discover who I am. Oh right. Well I hadn’t felt particularly concerned about who I am before now but sure, sounds exciting.
Three years later nothing had changed (apart from my tolerance to neat spirits), I felt like the same person and I was really starting to feel the pressure. Where the fuck was I? Was I missing a trick? Was I supposed to physically search for bits of my missing personality?
I changed tac. What else do people do around here in order to “find themselves?” I asked myself.
Yoga. Now if there’s one thing I love on this earth, it’s yoga. Honestly, not got a bad word to say about it. I can touch my toes now (I know right? Can you believe my progress?!).
I have spent many afternoons in downward dog, emptying my mind and feeling zen as fuck. There were very brief moments where I thought to myself “maybe, just maybe, I am warrior 2” but frankly if I am I don’t want to be because that shit is hard work and I do not have time.
So, nope, yoga has not led me to find myself. Next.
Meditation. Nope. Too hard. Next.
Healthy body, healthy mind, right? Let’s try running. Then I’ll be fit AND my clear and exercised brain will be in a better place to find my missing self. Incredible idea Beth, top drawer. Two birds, one stone.
It turns out I do not give a fuck about running. You can’t make me do it. I shall not be doing it again. NEXT!
So as you can imagine, by now I’m getting pretty desperate. I feel a million miles behind everyone else. How completely pathetic must I be to have not succeeded in my spiritual journey to reunite with…me? It was really starting to get me down.
And then one day, I woke up. I looked down at myself and I had the epiphany I’ve been waiting for. That moment of absolute clarity. It went something like this:
“Well fuck me, here I am.”
And the honest truth, or at least my truth, is that I was there all along. I never needed to go looking for myself, I wasn’t actually ever lost.
Everyone is so obsessed with the idea that they are not the complete version of what they are supposed to be, that there are parts of them missing. There’s one really simple way of working out if that’s true or not. All you have to do is ask yourself one question.
Are you Lord Voldemort? If the answer is no, then you’re fine. You’re probably a pretty perfect version of yourself.
We evolve through experiences. Ultimately, every interaction you have with other people or the world in general is going to change you. Some people may have these eureka moments. If you don’t, it doesn’t matter. You will never be the finished product because there is no such thing! We are always learning.
The exciting thing about this life is that you are always changing, always adapting, always reworking; don’t forsake that process trying to find a version of yourself that can’t possibly exist.
You are who you are today. Embrace you. Love you. Know that tomorrow you may be different but you will still love yourself.
You’re not missing. You’re just a work in progress.