4 August 2014

41 – The Job That Lasts A Lifetime

During the last days of a failing relationship, an Older Sister to my Then-Girlfriend tried to help me understand what was going on. I heard her out.

She’s is in a tough place right now. She’s trying to find herself, Older Sister explained.

I responded promptly without thinking. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. 

Find herself? I said. Sure you never stop doing that! People don’t stay the same. We’re always changing. We’re always trying to find ourselves. That never stops. And it never will! 

Older Sister didn’t say much else. Maybe I had just proved for her that Then-Girlfriend was making the right choice. And that’s OK. I thought it was the right choice, too.

I probably could’ve reacted to Older Sister’s explanation differently. Thankfully, I’m less of a prick now then I was then. Though it may help explain why I’m single. That and I don’t go to nightclubs. They’re silly places where people behave in extremely antisocial ways.

But relationships are a story for another time. This essay is about what my exchange with Older Sister revealed.

I don’t ever remember thinking about what I’d said to Older Sister prior to that moment. I just know that I answered on the fly without thinking.

To my mind, our exchange revealed two things: 1) sometimes thinking can be a stupid thing to do, and 2) we’re always trying to find ourselves.

And that’s what this essay is about. 

Finding yourself is the job that never ends. 

It’s a big job. It’s round-the-clock work. 24 – 7.

And you’re always on call. 365 days a year.

It’s the hardest job in the world. It’s a job that only you can do. And you can’t do it the same way as anybody else.

Finding yourself is the best job you could ever have. And it truly is the job that lasts a lifetime.

There’s no need to panic. Having to find yourself isn’t a horrible thing. It doesn’t mean you’re doing life wrong.

Finding out who you are is a part of building the life you want to live. Much like decisions and mistakes, having to find yourself and work on life is simply a consequence of waking up every day. You never stop having to make decisions. You’ll never stop making mistakes. And you’ll never stop finding yourself and building your life.

For a long time The World has suggested that people stop changing in any substantial ways once puberty and formal education come to an end. The general idea is that we supposedly enter a state of physical – mental – emotional – professional cruise control once we’re equipped with pubic hair and a diploma.

Bullshit.

We never stop changing. Ever.

We’re always changing. We’re animals made of organic matter. To change is simply a natural by-product of our material existence in time and space.

We become different people over time. Our bodies change. Our thinking and views change. Our hearts and emotions change. Our work and worlds change. Sometimes the changes are subtle. Sometimes they’re dramatic. But they’re happening all the time.

Change is a constant and crucial element of being alive. And it is something you have some ability to control. The only time you can’t control change at all is when you die. Then your body changes into another form of organic matter. And you can’t change that.

You’ll have a Career or Job in The World in your life. Actually, you’ll probably have several. Hell, I’m 33 and I’ve already had nine. And I don’t really like a lot of change. They call that a paradox.

The Jobs you do will leave an impression on you. The Careers you pursue will define and shape you to a certain extent. There’s no way around that.

But they’re not who you are.

The real truth is that discovering yourself and building your life is the only job that truly defines you. It’s the only occupation that will truly express who you are down to your bones and breath and blood.

Finding yourself is part of the journey you take through life. And that path never follows a straight course. Nature doesn’t work in straight lines. It spirals around and about in unpredictable ways. And if you ride that spiral you may just go where you’ve never been. And you may find it’s where you’ve always longed to be.

Accepting that you’re always finding yourself may help you build the life best for you. It may help you create a life greater than cardboard boxes of thoughts and escapes from real life. Your final truth should be more than that.

Be the explorer and builder of your life. Always be finding yourself. Always be creating and recreating the life you're in.

It’s who you are. And it’s what the world needs to see. 

Life come to life.

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The House Newf is from a rugged and beautiful island on the eastern edge of Canada called Newfoundland. He was first identified by a potter with a naturalist's flair, and he does in fact live in a house under the watchful eye of a cat that seems bewildered by the universe at large. That house is in Halifax, Nova Scotia and that's where the House Newf writes fiction and essays on things that add value to his life that may add some value to yours. You can contact him at bobharding80@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter @theHouseNewf, on Instagram @thehousenewf, and like him on Facebook. The House Newf is a unique specimen. Every home should have one.