It’s a little known truth that very few of us are certain of who we are.
Yes, we may be a teacher (who daringly dabbles in free-diving), a nurse (with a penchant for fierce rally driving), a (surfing) social worker or a businessman (who bakes on the weekends), but that’s barely scratching the surface of who we really are.
The new year has barely begun, but this question has been hanging out with me all through these holidays. Happily, dreamily, willing me on. With it’s beloved cousin ‘time’ also by my side, I’ve had the luxury of doing and musing on a great many things.
(Among them, clearly viewing too many period dramas, now that I’ve written that!)
So, without sounding too 20th Century, how do we begin to acknowledge or even explain, the multifaceted individuals that we are? And why is it important that we even do this; take the time to explore what makes up us?
The world of work
While our jobs may be part of this puzzle, we are commonly caught up in a world of work that inevitably but unfairly define us and leaves little room (and time) for us to be who we truly are, or would hope to be.
In truth, when meeting new people it’s not long before the proverbial question ‘So what do you do?’ enters the conversation.
Yes, it seems harmless enough and surely warranted when beginning to surmise who this stranger before us is. We can immediately make some connection then, place them in a social grouping, maybe even judge what ‘type’ of a person they may (or may not) be. But it is ultimately a flawed question.
The work we choose to do (in most cases at least) says something about us.
‘Occupations shape who we are….. Every occupation weakens or reinforces aspects of our nature’ Book of Life.
The Aged-care worker is a giver; patient and attentive. The artist; imaginative and creative. The farmer; methodical, persistent and determined.
But no one job can ever be enough to satisfy all the parts of us and it certainly should not alone define us.
Specialised and finite as our jobs may be, they are often void of opportunities to explore the vast array of talents and interests we possess. We are so much more than the ‘work’ we do, but how easy it is ‘to behave across our whole lives like the people work has required us to be’.
Do we work to live, or live to work?
So it would seem that time off from work; holidays, provide us not only with a ‘break from work’, but with this freeing platform to delve greedily, recklessly and wantonly into our creative talents, our hidden pleasures and allow us the space to be free with our ideas and behaviours (somewhat).
If we are so fortunate as to claim some ‘holiday’ time, we can indulge in our passion to paint, explore that interest in film, fashion up some new culinary concoctions or simply experiment with several ways to potter about the place.
We can dedicate time delving into that new interest, partake in being a present parent and play for the sake of playing.
When else in life, do we have the time and space to do these soul satisfying acts? And when else is there a better time to appreciate and acknowledge who we really are? Or indeed, who we would like to be?