Thursday, November 01, 2007

Finding yourself - Not just a teenage problem

There is a young lady that I see at church every week, almost. She is a pretty girl, but sometimes that prettiness is masked by the bizarre hairdos and clothes she wears. I'm sure you've seen the type.

One week she comes with the bottom half of her hair dyed black and straight while the top half is bleach blond and curly. The next week her hair will be all bleached blond and curly. The next week her hair will be something else. (At least part of it is always bleach blond.) Her clothes range from t-shirts and denim skirts, to empire waist mini-dresses, to a brown skirt and blue sweatshirt. It is a secret bit of entertainment for me to see what this young lady will look like from week to week.

I asked a friend of mine, who is closer to the young lady's family than I am, what is up with the changes each week. My friend said the young lady is "searching for herself" in a big way. She tries every hair style and clothing style during these searches. It is a stage most teenages go through.

I laughed to myself. I don't remember really searching for myself as a teen. I was confident in myself. I had a style that was comfortable and neat. It wasn't trendy in anyway, but I was always clean and neat. I knew that I would attend college and I knew what college. In the 9th grade I decided what it was I wanted to study in college and I stuck with it. I went to the college of my choice and I never changed majors once I got to college. I knew what kind of job I wanted and where I wanted to work. I knew what I wanted and where I was going.

Part of those life plans included marriage and children. Now, I have two college degrees, a good husband and four amazing children. Yet now, I feel myself is lost. I find my confidence in who I am is gone. My brain is mushy, I'm anti-social, I'm no longer an intelligent person and I prefer to stay hidden in my home rather than go out and have adventures.

I'm doing the opposite of the teenage thing. Now, I feel the need to find myself, search for myself and find out who I am. The thing is, as a teen, you have the energy to search for yourself, but now, as a 30-Something year old mom, I don't have the energy to do anymore than I'm required to each day. It is a shame to waste youth on youth.

This is all meant in fun, but it is also truth. It's too bad no one has told the young lady it isn't the clothes or the hair styles that make you who you are. Instead of dying her hair various colors from week to week, she should be spending that time she undoubtable spends in front of the mirror, working in areas of interest. Volunteer in places you might want to work someday, take a class in web design or flower arranging. That would help her find herself in a much better way than black hair or empire dresses.

Good luck to us all who are searching for ourselves, no matter how old we are.


Benteti5 said...

I have thought of that also. Sometimes in the recent past I have felt lost too. I think it's a huge challenge to be a Mom and maintain "self". I think what happens is that people have ideas of what they want to be and what they want to have when they are young and they achieve those goals, but as you say youth is wasted on youth and what does a youth know about what they want, especially for themselves. So when they get what they wanted and then find themselves lost they are surprised, although we shouldn't be. Being lost isn't the same as not being stable, as in wearing the same things every day or not knowing what you want to do tomorrow. That's what life is about. My challenge in finding my self is to dig beneath the layers of life, which is the product of my own decisions, and find passion. Passion for anything. Find it, do it, keep it. Don't worry, I think it's a common feeling for us 30 somethings. The sad thing is that some people don't even know they're lost, but then again, maybe ignorance is bliss. Either that or torment.

SLC said...

You're right, it is a shame to waste youth on youth. I once thought I had it all figured out - but once I started living that "figured out" life, I lost that knowledge. I find that the more you know, the more you realize you know nothing. I just have to remember that no matter how confusing things can be, that I shouldn't keep waiting for that next great thing (whether it be a bigger house, more money, a certain age, etc)but that I should try to enjoy the now. As a wise person said - your in-box will never be empty ( if it were, what would be the point of being alive?).