Coming into our own
Read this on galpod.com.
I’ve been thinking lately about becoming.
Austin Kleon, a very good person to follow if you like to think about stuff, said, “we don’t come out of the womb knowing who we are”. It rings true, doesn’t it? What I wonder is whether it implies that we ever figure out who we are. Is there a final answer to that question?
For me, it’s been a journey. Sometimes a frustrating journey, granted. But mostly a journey that I can’t characterise, much in the same way that I don’t know what the story is about until I finished reading (or writing) it. It hasn’t ended yet, so how can I tell what it was like?
I don’t think we ever come into our own. Or, let me put it this way: I don’t ever want to come into my own. That would mean I have stopped changing, stopped learning, stopped growing. Sure, change and growth are painful. Ask any teenager (and good luck with that). But without them, we’re stuck, static. That doesn’t sound very interesting to me.
Another thing I was thinking about in this context is independence. We are supposed to decide for ourselves who we want to become. That’s self-help 101. But we can’t ever get to where we want to go all by ourselves. Even if we take babyhood out of the equation (if you’re reading this, someone had fed and clothed you in your first years of life, right?), we are always dependent on others to become who we want. In an individualistic society, it sounds terrifying: to be dependent on someone else’s whims.
I’d like to think about it as a community effort. My hard work counts, no doubt. But also the tips I get from fellow writers, the lessons I learn from books and courses and podcasts written by others, the people who share my house and cheer me up when I’m low. Fellow travellers make the journey worthwhile.
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