I saw the question above posed in a tweet and, home alone for a few days, my first thought was:
Welp, with my overactive brain and a lot of quiet time around the house, this query should be good fodder for the ol’ gray matter.
Except, in a shocking turn of events, those thoughts sort of dead ended after a short brainstorm session. So, as I often do, I’m going to see if I can connect some of these dots in a quick writing-as-therapy session.
When I started thinking about that question of who I am, statements like these came to mind.
- I’m a guy who is trying to be a good husband and be a balanced partner in this relationship
- I’m a guy who is trying to be a good dad and be soft spoken more and frustrated less
- I’m a guy who loves to create things and is looking for ways to improve those skills to open up new opportunities
- I’m a guy who is trying to be patient with himself in a never ending quest to find the balance between contentment and achievement
- I’m a guy who is trying to do more good in the world but is still figuring out how and where and when
- I’m a guy who is trying to be more proactive about his health
- I’m a guy who is working hard to turn those pessimistic, snap judgments about other humans into more optimistic thoughts about their intentions
- I’m a guy who is trying to be more empathetic
What surprised me as I made this list in my head was how all of them used “-ing” words: trying, working, wanting. When looking inward about who I am, the stuff my brain summoned up was heavier on the trying rather than being.
Stuff I’m actively working on, not static traits.
Which was a little unexpected, but honestly makes a lot of sense. I’ve noticed over the years that I sometimes bristle when people talk about their interests or habits or likes or dislikes or whatever in very static, non-negotiable, always-been-like-this terms. It’s not to say that they were wrong, it’s just that this rigid vibe didn’t seem to align with how I think and feel about those same things.
In a way it reminded me of the concept of points and vectors I learned about in school.
A Point has position in space. The only characteristic that distinguishes one point from another is its position. A Vector has both magnitude and direction, but no fixed position in space. Geometrically, we draw points as dots and vectors as line segments with arrows.
The question seemed to be searching for two points, but my answer looked a lot more like vectors.
So I guess I’m not sure what I am, but I do seem to be trying to get somewhere. And as I reflect on those arrows and lines, even though their current origin and location is tough to pinpoint, I’m happy to see where they’re headed. I’m proud of who I am trying to become.
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