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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Existentialism

Fastidious, neat, and just-so. Conscientious. Indiscriminately and unwaveringly loyal. Outgoing, kind, and tactful. Observant, with eyes wide open enough to read your face at any moment. Empathetic and a ready listener. Someone who knows how to identify and service a need. Dependable, a promise-keeper. Principled, but not legalistic. Quick to laugh and slow to be offended. Not a complainer. Well-read, culturally-relevant, street-wise, down-to-earth. Not a quitter, but someone who knows how many ultimate frisbee attempts are too many. Patient. Efficient. Sensible and practical, calm and level-headed and easy-going. A person disciplined enough that one merely decides to do something and it's as good as done. A good driver. Perhaps a little too accepting, unguarded, lacking in discernment. Teetering on the edge of jadedness from concern over the hurts of living and the living, but too dedicated to the ideal of hope to ever be swallowed in more than momentary discouragement.

This is a little bit of who I wish I was. Maybe if I think hard enough . . . !

They say a person's personality are nearly completely formed by five years old. Then again, I think "they" is Freud. Who was a creep. Some other studies I found on the first page of a quick Google search [I am a thorough researcher, word] suggested that personality traits are mostly static during the adolescent years, despite nearly universal struggles with identity across the demographic. Or something. I should go ask Sarah. Anyway, personality doesn't really change. Character continues to develop over a lifetime.

I'm wondering what parts of me are "character" and what parts are "personality." Luke said today that personality is never an excuse for behaving badly, and I think that's true. When we were in Indiana, back at the hotel room one night, my mom rebuked me for being loud and obnoxious and unprofessional, and I responded by saying I was only being myself. The idiocy of this was quickly pointed out. And if Jonathan Edwards pined for gentleness, so can I. I'm learning, oh so slowly, that social respect is not overrated. In that instance, though my personality trends towards lively and expressive conversation, it was my character that failed in consideration for the people around me. There the distinction is clearer. Elsewhere, not so much.

I'm so endlessly torn between the person I am and the person I want to be -- oh! I think this is good.

2 comments:

Michael said...

I'm very confused and torn between when being yourself becomes unprofessional, and when professional can become a barrier to connection.

I sympathize so much with . . . this feeling of wanting to be something I'm not. How much share do I have in self creation? I have some share, but I'm afraid I take too much of it . . . "She saw what she had created and behold it was not good." (Lilith).

Sometimes being yourself can be more disrespecting the people around you.

"Not a quitter, but someone who knows how many ultimate frisbee attempts are too many"
Answer: Tthere is no such thing as "too many"

Hayley said...

Clearly, kid, you have never played ultimate frisbee with moi. ;P

"How much share do I have in self creation?" I wonder, I wonder. I would like a simple, straightforward answer to this. And I have yet to find one. [Durned teenaged identity crisis?]