I read this quote in the background of a photo of JRMoreau. And if you haven’t picked up on this already, I really enjoy quotations. They just might be my favorite little snippets of wisdom a girl can get.
I’ve heard this quote before – it wasn’t new to me. But it’s nice to be reminded every once in a while what your purpose truly is. The idea of “finding yourself” is a misconception in my eyes. You’re told that, when you feel “lost,” you need to try and “find yourself” and reach your peace. That one day, you’ll just figure it out – you’ll just find who you are, what you stand for.
You aren’t going to fall into your own lap.
There are many people who think they’ve been created with certain attributes that ascertain who they are. That there’s nothing they can do about these attributes. They are the way they are and that’s that. In even worse cases, they may have allowed other people to shape their perception of who they are and what they’re capable of. They may be letting their past determine their future – what they have or have not achieved or accomplished in the past may be crippling what they attempt in the future.
To me, that’s defeat. And laziness.
I do believe everyone should accept who they are and not attempt to change or become someone they’re not. However, are you accepting the very best version of you? Are you doing whatever you can to grow and learn and achieve what you’ve always wanted to achieve? Are you doing all you can do?
Chances are, you’re not. Or you’re like me and you just needed a little reminder and a swift kick in the butt to get back on track.
This past weekend, I had family in town – my dad, stepmom, aunt, uncle, two cousins and their significant others. I found myself out with the cousins (and their others) on Saturday night, at a bar, talking about my move to San Francisco. I talked about how it was the best decision I’ve ever made. How, even over a year later, I still fall in love with the city more and more each day. How blessed I am to have the best job in the world. How lucky I am to have made such amazing friends. But also how, about four months after I moved, the “honeymoon stage” of my big decision wore off. How I was alone, in a big city, not knowing anyone. Questioning everything. How I was completely and utterly lost.
And I could have succumbed. Some nights, I cried myself to sleep wishing I could be back home where everything was comfortable and nothing was unknown. I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life and there was nothing I could do to reverse it without looking weak.
But I did have options. I could go home, to Colorado, with my tail between my legs, and admit defeat. I could continue allowing the downward spiral of my mind take me down. Or, I could figure myself out and get through it. Obviously, options one and two were out.
But how do you “figure yourself out?”
I was willing to do anything I could to determine my true interests and desires.
I wanted to be in San Francisco. That I knew. But I didn’t know how I could be in San Francisco and continue the life I was living – go to work, get home, eat, go to bed, wake up, repeat. And the weekends were the worst. I never had any plans, so I sat at home. Friday night? Home. Saturday night? Home. Sometimes I’d write. I’d walk around by myself, but couldn’t do that for long before I started thinking. And I hated thinking.
Instead, I decided to figure out what I really enjoyed. I knew I loved San Francisco, so I began defining what it was that I actually liked. I liked the architecture, the parks, the people. I slowly realized that what I loved about the city was how it could all be captured and perceived as art. And I wanted to make everything I was seeing and loving into art.
I decided to invest in a Digital SLR camera and begin capturing everything I loved so much about the city. I went on photowalks (by myself and with Adam at first). Then I stumbled upon Julie and CALIBERSF and knew I wanted to be involved. I reached out to Julie about her I:Live Here SF program, participated, fell in love. I attended the next CALIBER Photowalk, met a few people, had a blast.
I found an interest and put myself out there. It may have been with a bunch of strangers, but they shared the same interest and that was comfort enough. I was ready to figure it out for myself and I gained from it.
I was willing to move on and let go of anything that may be holding me back.
Moving on and not lingering in the past is one of the most difficult tasks everyone faces at some point (or at multiple points) in their life. It’s impossible to forget the events, emotions, or experiences of our past. We all come into the present with “baggage” from our past, and then we have no way to make it seamlessly into our future.
For me, I have a pretty hectic past (who doesn’t?) and there were a lot of decisions to be made prior to my moving out to San Francisco. Many of which were still haunting me. I could have easily stayed in Colorado, gotten a job doing something relatively similar but not on the same level, and remain near to my family and friends – be comfortable. I could have moved to Los Angeles and joined the life of my ex – which I sometimes still wonder what if (although I continue to work on that).
Instead of letting these thoughts continue to bring me down and make me question the decision I did make, I chose to focus on why I made the decision I did. San Francisco is magic, and I didn’t want to lose sight of that. Instead of thinking about everything I left behind, I chose to see all that was in front of me. With the help of family and friends (new and old), I was able to direct my energy into pride and a serious sense of accomplishment. I moved, across the country, without knowing anyone, to follow my dreams. I am living my dream. And not many people can say that.
Instead of lingering and wondering, I began appreciating and cherishing.
I continue to move forward.
I committed to my pursuit and began taking steps to better myself. I branched out from the photography group and into meeting people and making friends from Twitter and through my blog. I used avenues I frequently participated in to achieve my goals. I met some amazing people and I began building my network. I worked extra hard, carving pathways for my career and absorbing as much professional knowledge as possible. I threw myself into social media events, conferences, happy hours, and other networking opportunities.
I take actions every day that help propel me in the right direction. I keep my vision at the top of my mind and make sure I do something every day in support of it. I am committed to making progress, to do whatever it takes, to work harder and go that extra mile, to continue to move forward.
Because there’s no way I would have just “found myself.” I created, and am continually creating who I am. And it’s okay to need a reminder every once in a while. In fact, it keeps us on track and reminds us why we’re here in the first place.