“I didn’t even know my favorite color.”
I’m discovering that there is something of an epidemic among us women in our early 30s. Many of us – whether we’re married, or mothers, or living the unattached life – well, we’re struggling with identity. Who are we? What do we want to be when we grow up? What are our hobbies? What defines us and describes us? What do we like and dislike?
What is our favorite color?
I’ve started putting myself in previously uncomfortable positions. A few weeks ago, I met with two different women just to… talk. These are aquaintances. People I knew in high school, and haven’t spoken with in more than 15 years, whom I have admired from afar for various reasons. Simple meetings like these are something that would have turned me into knots in the past, for reasons I can’t quite articulate. Imposter Syndrome? Maybe. Social anxiety? One hundred percent. Fear that my non-cool factor in high school is still carrying over into my 30s? I was a marching band nerd, for heaven’s sake, and I still fear others’ opinions about my passions. I can put on an excellent, outgoing, bubbly face, but in reality I am terrified of being judged by other women. Breaking through those thoughts, and connecting with “new” people, is one area of growth that is challenging for me.
But, uncomfort welcomes clarity.
New perspectives, differing walks of life, challenged opinions… these conversations have helped me begin to identify who I am at my core. Even more so, they’re bringing into focus what I want in life. I wrote about losing myself a few months ago, and the truth was that I had lost myself in the comfort and the routine of life. Throwing myself into social situations where I don’t know the outcome – like coffee dates with virtual strangers, and impromptu vacations with people who simply share my interests, and reaching out to old coworkers for new opportunities, and writing emails to someone I have never met for a challenging view – it’s stretching my brain, ever so slightly. It’s refreshing, and invigorating, and making me feel in ways that have long been dormant within my soul.
Like many of you reading this, I grew up in a rural area and I still live in that same community. It is a part of who I am, but I’m learning that maybe it’s not the whole picture. I am more than my hometown, or my career, or my past. I’m 33 years old, and I’m just figuring out that I can be more than what is perceived of me. And while I still am discovering and imagining Samantha, I’m finding that I’m not alone in this journey.
Neither are you.
My favorite color is green. You know that beautiful dark forest color that you find on trees in the mountains? Or the deep greenish-blue waters of the ocean and the waves? The color of growth and life? That’s it for me. I used to know that, and somewhere along the way I lost the ability to identify it.
I recently read that our lives should be an on-going artistic, creative project. Constantly molded and painted into something with evolving beauty. Our lives aren’t over. So, what masterpiece comes next?