I was scanning through archived e-mails when I found this quote from my 17 year old self,
“I know who I’ll be, but not who I am.”
I said this in the same year after I went and returned from Africa for the first time. I think I am running into this again, maybe it’s all my alone time here. Or the fact that I don’t have any person I talk to deeply and regularly in this town. Or it’s missing my family and friends. Or it’s being immersed in an entirely different culture. Don’t, don’t, don’t get me wrong-I love it here. But I am not sure who the I is that is loving it here.
I feel like I have changed so much in this past year plus since college that once again I don’t know if I am growing into me or growing out of me. Last time I felt this way I had to escape back to Arkansas to stay up late with great friends, hold a beautiful child of a dearest friend, and drink tea with the best of them. That is not an option right now in any universe.
So let me tell you what I do know and you can fill in the gaps for me, maybe or pray for me.
I want to be passionate and find a match or a reciprocal to match with me. And luckily right now, this is one thing I know about myself. I am passionate. I love things and people and places madly-right now I’ve got Kenya, the toilet paper dispenser here at work, and movies on my mind. After returning home from Lesotho last night I immediately hopped in my car and drove myself to see The Dark Knight regardless of how exhausted I was or how many other things I needed to do. (Thoughts on the movie might come in a later post.) I was so excited to see the toilet paper dispenser today at work after weeks away, I tell you the design is brilliant! And Kenya, I just can’t help thinking about Kenya. But so far Kenya and movies and the toilet paper dispenser don’t love me back-they don’t match my level of emotions. So I want people in my life and work in my hands that can be that balance-can love me fiercely too.
I want to lead. I love to lead but I don’t want to be brash or pushy to get or stay in a leadership role. I still dream about what I would do if I could be SGA president again, just one more year. I adored being swim captain in high school and band president. I want to be in leadership roles but find myself as the assistant or intern quite often-maybe slowly creeping my way up. So I want to lead though I am not doing so now.
I want to be a doctor.
I want to be a wife and a mother. Multiple times a day I think about how I want my life to look with my own family. I want lots of kids-adopted or naturally my own. I want to own animals like mules and chickens and sheep. I have no skill for decorating but I know I don’t want clutter or dust-catchers or plain white walls. I want to be well respected in my field and in my household. I want to bring respect to my children and husband through my work and service and love.
I want to always have good reading material.
I want to have a garden.
I want to truly know how to graciously give and receive hospitality.
I want to follow Christ without abandon.
I want to help others who find themselves outside the lines-to be a child advocate in the court system or to visit shut-ins or take in pregnant teenagers.
I want to be active-to go caving, hiking, swimming regularly.
Some of these things I long for and work towards, some I just long for, most I just look for.
And right now most of the things I know about myself are fleeting or short-term or working towards real knowledge. But most of it doesn’t feel very stable right now.
So now the quote goes, “”I know who I want to be, but not who I am.”