This is something we all need to ask ourselves at some point.
Self-discovery is a funny thing. It’s something that, I think, most of us go through during our teen years and early twenties. That's because it's the first time we've actually have control over ourselves… the first time that our actions can truly affect us, the people around us, and our entire future. Where we find out what type of person we truly are, and what type of person we want to be as we grow older.
Remember how I said self-discovery was a funny thing?
See, it’s funny because after all that angst, and doubt, and passion… after you’ve finally gotten it all figured out, Life happens. And you lose your way. You’re not the person you’ve set out to be, and not achieving the goals you set out to achieve.
Sometimes that’s a good thing. Sometimes life leads you down a path that’s better than the one you imagined for yourself. You become a better person than you set out being, you’ve made different goals and dreams and didn’t even realize it! But sometimes that detour is not so good. Sometimes, you’ve traveled so far from who you really are that when you finally realize you’re lost, you can’t even remember where you took that wrong turn. Then you have to start that whole ‘self-discovery’ thing all over again.
That’s how it happened with me. When I was young(er), I was crazy ambitious, wanted to travel, and write, and open a coffee shop, though not in that particular order. It wasn’t the things that I wanted so much as the act of wanting them. I knew what I was, and knew who I was.
Then Life finally happened to me.
I met a guy, an amazingly smart and funny guy. We got pregnant and had a baby. Then we got married. We were a little young, but not too young, and if this was all unexpected and rather rushed-feeling, it also felt right. It wasn’t enough to derail my sense of self. I was different, sure, but I had kept up with who I was and what I was about. I still knew what I wanted from my future.
And then, I managed to wake up. I woke up, looked around and didn’t remember who I was anymore. I was a wife. A mother. A mother with a special needs child. But, I wasn’t “Regan” anymore. I didn’t even know who that person was. I’d lost her, years ago, and didn’t even know how to find her again. Tomorrow had become too hard to think about, so I didn’t. Finally, a foggy memory came to me. A memory of this dream to write, and because I was desperate to do anything that was mine, I found a writing group and started writing.
It was hard.
It was exhilarating.
I discovered the new person I was and decided I rather liked her. But, it was a discovery I wouldn’t have made without writing. Because my dream for writing, even though it had become a foggy one, had always been there. It was a backburner dream. A someday dream. I’d been putting it off, and unintentionally putting off myself. Because we ARE our dreams. We are made up of our hopes and goals. If we ignore or loose sight of them then we loose sight of ourselves.
So, what do I think self-discovery is? It’s finding that part of you that wishes, that hopes, that dares to dream… And then it’s plucking up the courage to follow those dreams. It might be easier when we’re younger, when all dreams seem easily achieved, but we’re never to old to find ourselves; never to old to find that bit that makes us tick, that drives us, that defines us.
It may be different for you. It may be different for everyone else in the whole world. But me? Well, to me self-discovery is the act of dreaming, and then–and this is important–following those dreams.