Define Yourself

This picture was taken early Friday morning at the corner of Monaville Road and Fairfield Road in Lake Villa, IL on my way to work. While we are still getting an abundance of cold and gloomy weather here in northern Illinois, there are days where the clouds have opened up and given me something to look at, this sliver of a sunrise being one of those things.

The sunrise in this picture was captured at around 6:50 in the morning, which may be early for some, but not for an up-and-at-em person like myself. I very much enjoy starting my day early because it allows me to get so much more done, in addition to being able to relax at night. The return of frigid, awful weather and some snow after a short period of milder conditions had me a little upset, as it delays the time of year where heat and minimal clothing are focal points in my life, but getting to see this painting was a treat. The yellows, oranges, and faint reds streaking across the light blue sky make me think of the better, warmer times ahead.

Those who know me well know that I am the definition of a thinker and an analyzer. I am wired this way for many reasons and wrack my brain when it comes to things both concerning myself and others. One area where my constantly running mind serves me well is in my interactions with others when discussing the future and what they want to do with their life.

I love to listen to how people got to where they are, what they like and dislike about what they are doing, what their plans are, what they want to accomplish, what they are passionate about, etc. Hearing and really taking in those things allows me to quickly understand them on a level beyond the surface. I take an interest in who they are and who they want to be, which allows me to establish the type of deep, meaningful connection I like to have with people. This is the only way to develop trust and comfort, but also, get both parties thinking about what they are truly trying to do in this world.

Photo Credit: Ryan Magnuson/Trail BlazerRy
Photo Credit: Ryan Magnuson/Trail BlazerRy

Have you ever asked yourself that question? What am I trying to do in this world? It is a very hard question to answer for a very good reason: most of us have no clue. From a very young age, we navigate our way through school trying to figure things out. We might think we have some things figured out by the time we get to our senior year of high school, if we even make it that far, but it is here where we are faced with our first major decision decision. Some will enter the work force in some way, shape, or form. Others will elect for additional schooling in the form of college or the trades. It is up to the individual to decide which path is right for them for the time being.

I say “for the time being” because many of us will change our minds several hundred times or more before we get to an area of more stability, whatever stability looks like to us. Everyone has a different definition of what stability will look like for them. Maybe stability is accumulating as much money as humanly possible. Maybe it is being able to adequately support oneself or a family. Maybe it is being 100% in love with what you are doing as a career. Maybe it is living on the bare minimum and traveling the country. Maybe it is something I did not mention.

The point I am trying to make here is that everyone has a journey and each one is different. Our stability on this journey is determined by us and what we want for ourselves in this life. What we want to do and how we go about accomplishing it can only be answered after we define who we are.

After I graduated high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to go to college and obtain my degree in four years, which I did, but aside from that, I was lost. Both in college and in the two years since I graduated, I’ve had numerous people ask me where I’m headed. What are you doing now? What are your goals? Does that career coincide with what you went to school for? Where do you see yourself down the line?

The truth is, I’m not able to give them definite answers to any of these questions because I am still trying to figure myself out. I have worked as a temp, a landscaper, an office worker, a demolition guy, a baseball coach, a sales associate in retail, and now, I’m in carpentry. I have been all over the map during this time of transition, and while I don’t have it all figured out right now, I do know what makes me happy. I love my family and few close friends, helping and making a difference in the lives of others, being creative, learning new things, and constantly growing and forming new relationships with people I come across along the journey.

I may not have it all figured out or fully know what I am trying to do in the world, but I am well on my way. Parts of me are defined, while others are still a mystery. I am an unfinished work, being slowly filled in each day until completion. So are you.

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