Monday, August 2, 2010

How (not) To Find Yourself


Hello Optimists,

Hope you had a great weekend! I took a quick trip to New York City to visit my best friend who's interning there for the summer and though I've been to the city many times, we tried to go to the "real" New York and venture off to places that aren't typically considered a touristy area. We wanted to steer clear of Times Square and the Theatre District, walk far away from the heavy traffic and crowds on Broadway, and leave the overly-crowded Rockefeller Center behind. So we opted to go to Union Square where we walked through an awesome farmer's market, to Washington Square Park to listen to the on (and off) beat musicians who return day after day to play their instruments, and finally to Brooklyn, where the drone of truck engines and car horns seems to die down.

I saw a lot of different kinds of people, which was actually pretty refreshing. I mean, of course this is what one would expect when one visits New York City- the melting pot inside of the melting pot - but it amazed me that so many different kinds of people can live together in one little place and have it be considered (arguably) the best city on earth.

I thought that this would be a good place to find yourself, to really feel o.k. to be who you want to be. I think that's why this city appeals to so many. Little judgement is cast on those who would normally be considered out of the norm, but not in NYC. Not in the city where hipsters chill with the preps, the young mix with the old, and the rich rub elbows with the poor (and not only because there's no standing room on the sidewalks). So this must be where people go to find themselves.

At least that's what I thought until I read the next reader-submitted quote anyway. This one was posted anonymously, which might actually be quite fitting considering the quote...
Life isn't about finding yourself. It's about creating yourself. -George Bernard Shaw 
Up until now I really thought that there was a way to "find" your true self- to be immersed in a culture that seemed to fit just right, to have friends that you can really consider friends, to feel like there is nothing missing from your world, and you have that great feeling of relief and happiness like after finally finding that lost earring that's been missing for two weeks. You know, it's that "Ah, yes! I've found it!" feeling.

But this quote made me realize that we should put down that magnifying glass and stop searching so hard to "find" ourselves. Where's Waldo? was a fun game to play when we were little, but this is our lives we're talking about here. It's up to us to create the world in which we want to live and to create the life that we've been looking for. So maybe that's why people love New York City- they have, pretty much at their fingertips, a multitude of culture, religion, society, careers, excitement, and one too many Starbucks where they have the chance to create the life they want to live.

I guess I'll stop my search and pull out my drawing board, and though I am no Picasso, I now know that I'm holding the paint brush...I have control of this canvas that I'm about to paint and it's up to me to create whatever kind of art that I wish. I hope you too can keep this quote in mind and really take it's meaning to don't just find, create!

Keep Smiling,


  1. Being able to create myself is much more empowering than merely finding myself! Thanks for the post :-).

  2. Perfect sentiment. Well done and thank you!


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