Recently I’ve been faced with an interesting experience: I’ve felt more myself when with others than when alone. It intrigues me because, for the past few years, I’ve felt most myself when alone than with others. I found I needed the quiet, particularly somewhere outside my home in New York City, to feel close to myself. I set off for places like the Berkshires, Vergennes (in Vermont), and Halifax (Nova Scotia) for writing retreats for days at a time to immerse myself in my novel and in me.
These days, however, it’s with others that I glimpse myself, while alone I fall into watching episode upon episode of The West Wing or scrolling through Instagram with no purpose beyond disconnection. But even as I am purposefully disconnecting from myself I know who I am.
What’s more, I also know who I want to become.
The last few months have been filled with challenging choices and transitions. The choices I’ve made have pushed me into positions where I’ve had to choose very carefully the person I want to become. There have been moments where I’ve stopped myself from throwing my hands in the air and reacting and instead chosen what was indefinitely more challenging but infinitely more in line with the man I want to become. This is important because becoming happens in every moment. Every choice is an act of becoming. The present is what exists, and choices in the present determine who I will be in the future.
Now, instead of getting lost in a philosophical exploration of past, present, and future (which, I assure you, I will at some point because one of my notebooks from 2018 has quite an exploration of it), I want to focus on this idea of constantly becoming and the importance of knowing myself and of you knowing yourself.
In order to become who you want to become, you must know who you are now, at this moment. The only way to move toward your destination is to know your starting point. So who are you? What qualities describe you? What values do you hold? What are your skills? And what’s the impact you want to have on your life, the lives of others, and the world? Answer those questions and you’ll be one step closer to knowing who you want to be and one step closer to getting there.
For me? I am a creative, open, and authentic man, who values connection, creativity, and learning, and uses my ability to connect with others and my insatiable desire to learn, to make wherever I am better than I found it and to guide everyone to Ithaca and home, wherever and whatever their’s may be.