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Saturday, December 03, 2005

How do you know when you've found yourself?

How could I be in my early 30s and not know for certain who I am and what I'm striving for? I know I've never really been 100 percent certain that I should be a reporter/financial journalist, but I always at least thought on some level I was a writer. Even back in college when I was trying to nail down a major, I always envied those people who knew what they wanted to do with their lives. For years and years, they always knew that they would study engineering or public relations or physical therapy. Perhaps they knew that's what they wanted to do because some family member pushed it on them. Or perhaps they genuinely knew what they were interested in.

After my previous post about wondering why I still feel incomplete, I had a terrible thought. What if I'm not a writer? That would mean that everything that I thought I knew about myself would be wrong. Every aspiration, every desire, every aching finger and sore wrist would be for nothing. That would mean that the past 14 years of my life--my entire college and professional years--would have been taking me down the wrong path.

So here I am, a lifetime later still wondering what I should do with myself. Wondering what impact I'm supposed to have on the world. Where I fit in. This sad stream of consciousness started after Bethany followed up my incomplete post with her own thoughts about realizing she is a writer and loves being a writer, even if her day job isn't writing novels.

I've never felt totally sure about what I wanted to do professionally. I waited until the last possible moment to pick a major (journalism) and then even longer to pick a concentration (broadcast journalism). I did have a couple of jobs working in the news departments of television stations (one in Boston and one in Denver), but even then I wasn't that excited about it. A former editor once asked me if I like "having written." And I do. I love seeing my name in print because it makes me feel accomplished. Seeing my work out there is solid proof that I've contributed something. And then after I said yes, he said that is the best a writer can hope for. I'm still not sure if that is reassuring or just more smoke and mirrors.


  1. Anonymous9:15 AM

    Not to sound cliché, but life is a journey…and so is finding yourself. I have found that my career aspirations have constantly evolved over the course of the last 13 years. Life took me on a meandering career path which was turned out to be a successful one before I ended it all to be a SAHM. At different points in my life, I had wanted different things. Depending on the phase of my life, I wanted to either learn a lot (for the sake of learning), be in a noble profession, be recognized, be respected or ultimately, make as much moola as possible so that when I did decide to have a family, I could chose to stay at home if I wanted to. When I was young & in college, I never in a million years thought I’d end up staying home with children. Yet, here I am, a stay at home mommy (and pretty darn happy about it). Life experiences give you perspective to make decisions differently & be someone different than you may have envisioned in your younger years. When my kids are in school full-time, I look forward to picking up something up (work wise) that I really enjoy doing. What that will be, I have no idea since I’m years away from that decision. Am I fretting? No way. After all, if I “found” myself now, I might pigeonhole myself into being that someone for the rest of my life. And frankly, I love the discovery of the unexpected.

  2. I love that perspective on life. I wish I could just let it all go and enjoy the moment for what it is and not worry so much about where I'm headed. I'll get there eventually.

  3. Perhaps you identify yourself too much as a writer. You are not a writer. You write. You mother. You wife. You cook. You do all these things but they are just a few ways that you happen to express yourself. And you most certainly have not wasted your time hurting your wrists, going to college, etc.... Those are your experiences!!

    Maybe by identifying with being a writer you are in fact limiting yourself? For me, knowing how to program websites and manage databases are just skills. They certainly do not define who I am. yeesh. Perish the thought!!!

    AND this is your path. There is nothing particularly good or bad about it. But, it is YOURS. And you can do anything you want. You can even worry it's the wrong one, if you like. If that's what you want to do. :-)

    I dunno -- it's hard. I wonder about the same things as you. I think how fun it was to shmooze with work folks and get all dolled up to go to the xmas parties -- we went to a lot of the same parties, that was so much fun. I also think how glad i am to have had those experiences at all. And now i'm home ALL THE DAMN TIME not meeting anyone new nor shmoozing. And I still get upset because my son's father bailed on me. And I worry and fret about my son's fragile health. And these aren't things I want to be doing but i do them. But it's my path. It's very difficult to keep those thoughts focused on the here and now. Isaac is such a beautiful kid. And I'm glad I have skills that make me money.

    At any rate, you are so much more than a writer. You are very clever, charming, and I feel something very interesting will cross your path if you are open to it. :-)

  4. I think you are a writer if you write.

    But then, I think with most professions, they don't necessarily mean the whole identity.

    Except, maybe, motherhood.

  5. Anonymous7:58 PM

    Hi, I'm a college senior, 19 years old, and am currently waiting for my downloads to finish :P. Anyway, I can't even remember how I stumbled upon this blog, but I can clearly say that I love your writing, and your viewpoints. Makes me want to aspire to sound as you do: the clearly intelligent, dilligent, respectable woman, mother of today. Keep going.