when you look back - do you like what you see?

I knew myself better four years ago than I did last year.

See, I got it backwards at first. I thought that I'd learn more about myself as I grew older. Maybe in my twenties I'd be sure of who I was.

Do you know how Sherlock solves mysteries? He uses deduction. Take away whatever's false and you end up with the truth. I used to think identity was a lot like this. Take away all that you're not and you should be left with you, yourself, dug down to deeper than bone. It all seems pretty backwards, but we're good at holding on to our old personality traits. We describe ourselves in our teenage years and five years later, we're still describing ourselves in the same way.

Honest, wise, reserved, stubborn. I wrote these things in polls and personality quizzes and well-being forms for schools five years ago and I'd gotten into the habit of writing the same words now. But I could disprove each of these. I wasn't blunt enough to be honest. I wasn't experienced enough to be wise. I was open - on my blog and in real life. And really, I wasn't that stubborn.

The point is I knew what I wasn't but I did't know who I was. Two horrible years of high school have scooped out the fun parts of my brain and left my mind hollow. My brain was on rapid fire in '16—just for school alone. '15 I wrote 67 posts total. That's 1 and about a third posts per week.

2016? I wrote a measly 8.

I started developing this perfectionist habit. Mind you, I'd always had a bit of a nit-picky thing, but it was blown out of proportions. I wrote a post every Sunday and deleted most of them. I was obsessed with Year 11. It was the addictive TV show you can't seem to stop watching even as you realise that you're frozen in time while the rest of the world moves on without you.

I used to dream a lot in third person.

Two years ago, one of my first Bearable posts was this:

I'm in a state of euphoria right now. Do you know why?

I would never have written that last year. What's that quote in An Education? "I feel old, but not very wise." I was tired and all worn out, and I still had a dream—The Dream—but it's hard to get that same fire up. Determination and willpower. Most days I got a flicker.

But I tried. I didn't fight my battles or conquer my foes or anything—but I pushed through. And I'm happy again. I know who I am.

I got back into blogging. Two hours a week, the usual. I took up some extracurriculars and to be honst with you, I had the absolute time of my life debating and volunteering. The world didn't recover from the Wall Street Crash right away. These things take time, you know? I think the most important thing: force yourself out of your comfort zone. Don't let yourself get stuck in routine. Keep trying new things.

And if it happens again ... we'll get there in the end. We will.



  1. You just put into words what I've been thinking for the past year of my life. And quite recently, too. I like your part especially where you said 'most days I got a flicker', and to be honest i'm feeling that a lot lately. Motivation has become a flicker. I sat down to write last night and wrote a paragraph, deleted it twenty minutes later and fell asleep.

    I don't know, maybe motivation will come back with time. Or maybe, as you said, I should push through. Anyhow this post was relatable, and awesome, and as a sidenote DO NOT beat yourself up about writing posts; I love your blog, but I know people need a break every now and then.

    1. Glad you can understand where I'm coming from. I noticed I've been posting more depressing posts recently, and sometimes I wish I could go back to writing about positive things like before. I hope time can do that.

      Thank you for your awesome comment Sunset. I'll try not to beat myself up over posts. :)

  2. Funny that we think alike, because I did know who I was as a kid, but right now I'm confused. Three years ago, I loved theatre and in my niche of friends, it's practically assured I'm extroverted. Now I hardly talk to anyone because of having to run around to take care of five different activities during lunch.

    Everything's slowly starting to come back up. For one, I really enjoy helping other people a lot, and as intimidating as it is to talk to people, I've been placed into situations where it's become a necessity, but I don't mind it as much. We're just going to keep building and growing-- the process continues on.

    xoxo Abigail Lennah

    1. Right? This can't be what growing up feels like...

      That's really good that you're able to continue and accpet. I like to think of it as a change in perspective - how am I going to live with the person I am now, knowing the person I was before? Great point you make. :)

  3. I love this post! So necessary, frankly its true- that sometimes the older you get the less you are sure of who you are. You find your way at some point though!

    1. Thanks Vanessa! I believe so, and I truly hope so. :)

  4. I guess I thought (and still do think) the same way - I'll figure out what I'm like when I'm older. It would be interesting to know how many adults have a clear definition of who they are.

    And yes I agree with you - I strongly believe in getting outside your comfort zone. Who wants to be limited? Why let fear stop you from doing what you want to do? As long as we're growing and learning, that's the main thing.

    I appreciated this post, Jo! And I never realized you live in Australia. Yay for fellow Australians! :)

    1. I agree with that. Finding your identity must be a process, then, rather than a destination. And that's much easier done when we step outside our comfort zones and try new things.

      Australia all the way! :)

  5. Hi! Sorry I've not been around much.

    So I actually remember that post about humans being amazing. I think it was one of the first few posts of yours that I read.

    Identity is a difficult thing to find. I think part of the reason is that the whole world is trying to identify and place you in a category too. And sometimes we pause and wonder if they're right, and we start confusing who we are with who other people see us as or with what other people expect us to be. And oftentimes, their expectations are false, or at least partially false, because they've not given us the chance to show who we fully are, so they can't know what to truly expect yet.

    But yeah, I thought I would have my identity down by now too. Yet I am continually having to throw off the false expectations that I've let others impress upon me or that I've accepted. I'm continually realizing that I've acted one way or said something because that's what I was told to do.