The thing about getting to know yourself is that it doesn’t usually take place in happy kitten butterfly times. Not for me at least. When I look back on the times when I learned the most about myself, it was when I was the most uncomfortable. Hard times bring out the real me. That person is incredibly vulnerable but also scary as hell.
It’s easy to get stuck in the present moment and feel like the world begins and ends with your suffering- that nothing good will ever happen again. The reality is that suffering is an important, but temporary part of life. It points you towards a more thankful you, a more perceptive you. A more loving you.
I use the term “character building” too loosely. Its okay if we dressed him up like a girl when we were 7, it was character building. But the thing about real suffering is that when you come out the other side, you are more familiar with yourself and the role you play in your own life. Your character is developed when you’re forced to confront difficult situations and difficult feelings inside of yourself.
The real mistake is thinking that we can skip that part. Because, no. That will result in a 26 year old that spends the day Netflixing in pajamas, and thinking that chocolate chips out of a bag are a proper lunch. I’ve said before that I am fairly self-actualized. But that doesn’t mean that I am self-aware. I’m not.
Things that Chelsea knows for sure she likes:
- Cheese Pizza
- Watching movies at home
- Long drives with great music
Things that Chelsea knows for sure she doesn’t like:
- Working out- ever
- Stupid people giving me unsolicited advice.
- President bashing. Have a little national pride.
- Racist/sexist/bathroom humor. Get in your monster truck and go back to Florida.
- A general lack of wi-fi or air conditioner.
My family travelled via motor home when we were growing up. We loved it. Some might have called us “poor” but I prefer the term “campy”. The thing about being young is that you don’t know you’re poor. I thought our childhood house was huge at the time. I drove by in my adulthood and saw that it was practically a shack. A yellow shack, which I would say was pretty hipster of us in the 80′s. But it was on some land where there happened to be a wrecked plane that we played in, as well as some poisonous berry bushes that we collected and pretended to eat. It was also stray cat central. I mean, that’s like a child’s dream right? What I realized is that people decide what to spend their money on. My parents didn’t funnel their money into our cars (except that motor home?) or into a really nice house. They certainly didn’t funnel the money into college funds (love you guys..). They loved to travel so thats what was special enough to spend big bucks on.
The thing about becoming an adult is that sometimes the thing you should be spending your money on is the last thing you prioritize for. I’m not talking about 401K’s although I probably should be. I want to save and spend on what makes me the happiest. But that new car is turbocharged. So there’s that.
So what do I want to spend and save for? Travel. My parents taught me well. Wanderlust plagues me on a daily basis. When I was busy, it was like I didn’t really notice it, but I’ve always been the person that signs a 6 month lease and then moves across town when that’s up. Because I always want to be somewhere I’ve never been. Experiencing new places is so rewarding to me. I would also say meeting new people, but let’s face it, I’m not a people person. I’m a people watcher, which sounds super creepy now. But whatever, this is about self-discovery. And growing up, which means I’m not good at saving and spending on the important stuff yet. Because I definitely bought the car.
“Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)”
-Excerpt from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
There’s something so relatable about everything Walt Whitman ever wrote. That guy just really gets it.
I consider myself to be a relatively self-actualized person. I don’t really need approval from others, and I’ve never had low self-esteem. However, my opinion of myself is very important to me, and I am my harshest critic. Leaving the PhD program was a huge personal failure for me. I wasn’t happy there, but I was literally addicted to how busy it made me. That’s sick right?
The place I’m in now is probably withdrawal from busyness. But I think I judge myself by how busy I am. And because I’ve got literally nothing on the agenda right now, I’m getting a big ole F in busyness. This has made me subconsciously withdraw from doing anything except the cereal on the couch thing. Because if I can’t be completely slammed then I might as well do absolutely nothing, right? Makes total sense.
Very well then I contradict myself.
Hey remember that time I was laying on the couch in my pajamas at 3 o’clock and decided it would be a really good idea to start a blog?
It turns out that I’m The Queen of Terrible Ideas.
That should have been my domain name!