Identity: Call It What You Want

Identity is a big part of our culture. In my opinion, starting a new stage of life is special for many reasons, but mostly because it’s a blank slate. Becoming an “adult” marks the first real opportunity, for most, to find what we want to be. We are without constraints by our family, our grade, our school, or even our hometown.

It took me a while to own my identity. Maybe for you, too. To be unashamed of who you are and what you do.

“I am a different person to different people. Annoying to one. Talented to another. Quiet to a few. Unknown to a lot. But who am I, to me?”

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Rawpixel via Unsplash

I did not want to find my identity in my job. In my world, nurses were “not doctors”. To my high school teacher, I had to justify this profession when she told me I was too smart to wipe butts for a living. My shift is comprised of translating medical jargon, holding hands, calculating medication dosages, and being the one the patients can talk to.

Only when I saw a patient finally understand their diagnosis or comforted a grieving mother did I truly understand the breadth of what this job entailed. There’s so much more to this job than wiping butts and giving shots. I am proud to do what I do.

But please still don’t get me any merch that says “I’m a nurse, what’s your superpower?” or anything like that.

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Javier Allegue Barros via Unsplash

Being a friend is part of life, but it’s exhausting to invest in other people. As humans, I believe we are naturally selfish. We want to talk about ourselves & do whatever our heart desires. But, being part of a friendship that is supportive, fun, and positive can add years to your life.

Being an extrovert in a new city was hard, because the less I saw my friends, the more run down I got. I ended up with even less energy to go out. This pushed me to start connecting with friends who were a short road trip away, opening up to my coworkers, and saying hello to my neighbors. Tiny connections are better than none.

It takes effort, but I learned to let others in. Opening up has never been one of my favorite things, but it’s part of living. It means enduring conversations, pushing myself to go out when I’m feeling iffy, and genuinely asking ‘how are you’?

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Radovan via Unsplash

Growing up, I was always enamored by pop culture. People in my life tried to make me feel like it was dumb to love it, or that I was wasting my brain cells. Now, as an adult, I enjoy it guilt-free. My friends have designated me as the go-to for new recommendations and reviews. Being known as the pop culture junkie is my brand and I embrace it.

If you like something & it brings you joy, that’s awesome! As long as it’s not hurting you or other people, I think you should most definitely spend time doing that thing.

Regardless of what you’re going to let define you: your career, your beliefs, your family, or your hobbies, be proud. Love it loudly. Be defined by what you love, rather than what you hate. Fill the world with it.