I don’t believe there’s such a thing as creating a “new me”. I cannot change an entire life’s worth of experiences; but even if I could, I wouldn’t want to. I remember in sixth, seventh, eighth, and even into high school, during each summer I would consider, “How can I make myself cooler/more influential/a bigger player next year”? I distinctly remember not wanting to be more popular or get more girls, but, rather, I wanted to be more liked.
I tried dying my hair. I tried developing self-deprecating jokes. I tried reading more. I tried being faster, stronger, and more athletic. I tried searching out groups that were more in line with my natural interests (football, wrestling, seminary, breakdancing, philosophy club, camping/hiking groups).
None of these solutions worked for me. Even into college years, I wasn’t naturally good at finding a niche. (As a side note, I developed a lot of interests as a result of my attempts to “fit in”: juggling when I was supposed to be playing baseball; photographing with my grandpa who owned a photography business when I was supposed to be studying; immersing myself into rock ‘n’ roll as I was going to and from football practice; challenging teachers and professors with questions that I considered unanswerable; rockclimbing instead of lifting weights or running; taking voice/guitar/computer programming classes where I could’ve been applying money to debt; bartending instead of developing a career; Uber driving instead of going to graduate school; etc.)
I found that I am inclined toward navigating experiences that are undiscovered to the average person. I am naturally good at accomplishing the things that people who don’t have the time, money, energy, or natural gift. I am two, probably three, deviations from the normal. #ENTPlife
I feel comfortable talking about it, but I undoubtedly hear the confusion of my interlocutor. “How did you indefinitely leave your girlfriend while you traveled Asia?” “Where did you sleep as you kayaked on the Mississippi River?” “Why didn’t you live in a dorm or at home instead of couch-hopping or sleeping outside?” “You’re going to live on two hours of sleep?! Don’t you enjoy sleeping??” “Why don’t you watch TV?” “How do you have the money to skydive/paraglide/bungee jump/cliff dive?”
Am I boasting? No. It sounds like it, but this is my norm. Just the same as a 9 to 5 is your norm. If you uplifted me from my schedule and placed me into yours, I bet that I’d be fired within 30 days. In fact, I have been fired within thirty days of being hired. On multiple occasions. Am I proud of it? No. Instead, I’ve come to the blunt realization that your life is not what I’m cut out to do day after day. But I’m grateful that there are people like you that have the discipline and focused attention toward one task.
If I lived my life according to what people thought was smart or if I listened to the, “I-don’t-think-that’s-a-good-idea” and the “you-shouldn’t-do-that” comments then I wouldn’t be interesting. I wouldn’t have wrestled Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Vietnam, or jumped out of a plane in Colorado, or massaged lepers in India, or kayaked the Mississippi River, or played with my sleep, or have lived outside during college, etc. Once an idea is in the wheelhouse, I choose to be relentless and patient while I do the abnormal.
A new year, a new you…? Don’t buy that trash. Be more you. Do things that reflect who you are. Spend some time considering what makes you different from me and everybody else. Develop those qualities. Become more you. Don’t be like me or anybody else. Don’t be normal.
I want interesting people in the world. I want you to be interesting. For me, so far, the hardest thing in life is developing an identity that I’m proud of and is unique to me. This isn’t an easy thing to do, I understand; but I’m happy with who I am and the developments that I have planned for the coming year. So, I can confidently say that the effort that I’ve made to create a personal identity is worth the trouble. Don’t make efforts to change who you are – embrace yourself and be more you.
- Ask/go on a date with someone that you wouldn’t normally go on one with
- Don’t procrastinate
- Read a book or twelve, alternating between fiction and non-fiction
- Take less showers
- Write something
- Nap more
- Send anonymous letters
- Garden or raise an indoor plant
- Start connoisseur-ing something (coffee, whiskey/wine/craft beer, cigars, poetry, vinyl records, candles, oils)
- Cook international cuisines
- Text your parents before they text you
- Start a club
- Eliminate every bit of clutter from your room
- Don’t wear underwear
- Nix Netflix
- Study successful people who share the same Myers-Briggs as you