Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Type of Person I Want to Be

Red posted about her second shopping ban slip (no judgment! I don't do shopping bans precisely because I know I would slip up a lot, so how can I judge?). However, the thing that jumped out at me the most was this line:

 I want to be the kind of person who cuts her own hair and goes without makeup and grows her own vegetables (and actually eats them). But that's not who I am. And I'm not sure how this challenge is supposed to turn me into that person.
 
Wow, did that resonate.
 
I want to be the type of person who is active every day and looks and feels strong instead of thin. Instead, I'm the type of person who hates to sweat and is lucky to have a good metabolism.
 
I want to be the type of person who doesn't have a bunch of extraneous clutter lying around her home. Instead, I "collect" free stuff and continue to buy clothes while not wearing everything in my closet.
 
I want to be the type of person who has a nicely designed home, where things match or at least look interesting, and with cool art on the walls. Instead, I have no sense of design and read Apartment Therapy and get frustrated with people who do. Even if I'm able to come up with a theme or a plan, I have a hard time spending the money on something so "frivolous".
 
I want to be the type of person who has experience a lot of cultural things in her city, who goes to museums and understands what she's looking at. Instead, I spend my weekends at home playing video games.
 
I want to be the type of person who is creative and makes things, whether it be food or crafty things or whatever. Instead, I spend my time trolling the internet.
 
The thing is, none of these desires are truly out of my reach. Each one of the bullet points above could be achieved with a few simple, identifiable steps. Do ten minutes of yoga every day. Declutter one or two items every day. Go to a museum once a month. Make something -- anything.
 
How much of blogging is us publicly trying to achieve goals like this? I've noticed at the beginning of any given month, many of my fellow PF bloggers post fitness, weight loss or health-related goals in addition to their financial goals. Are those of us dealing thoughtfully with money more likely to be interested in health and fitness? Or is it that those of us who blog are more likely to envision being a particular type of person and therefore we talk about it - in all its facets - in an open forum? We create challenges for ourselves in order to achieve these perfect selves, but what would happen if we got exactly what we wanted? We'd have to face the fact that we'd still want something more, something different, something better. Or to BE someone more, someone different, someone better. 
 
But that's only normal, right? We humans are always trying to better ourselves, and that's what gave us fire, and cultivated agriculture, and the iPad. So it's fine to set goals and challenges for ourselves (and to do it in full view of the anonymous internet) but as Red points out, we have to carefully consider how we go about it. Is Red's challenge going to turn her into the type of person she wants to be, or is it simply going to be a ban on non-necessary spending which will give her more money to throw at debt? Neither option is wrong, but complications ensue when we set out to do one thing without realizing that we're actually doing another or subconsciously wanting some other outcome. 
 
I've been thinking a lot about my future lately, and what I want that to look like. Much of it involves a better version of myself, someone who is physically stronger, emotionally calmer, and weighed down with less stuff. When I did my New Year's Resolutions, I envisioned a version of me who can do headstand and owns less stuff, but I failed to take into consideration that the type of person who can do headstand is the type of person who does yoga on a regular, committed basis. Am I willing to be that type of person? The type of person who has a crafty hobby is the type of person who spends time on that crafty hobby. My time feels more and more pinched and precious with every day that goes by -- am I willing to be the type of person who spends time sewing quilts? Or do I just like the idea of it?
 
Maybe a better way of doing this, for me, rather than posting goals, is to think of myself as already the type of person I want to be. When I'm debating between getting on the internet and doing a few sun salutations, I know that the type of person I want to be am goes for the yoga. When I'm in a store, I remember that the type of person I want to be am already owns two black cardigans, and even though this one has different buttons or whatever, I don't need it. There's no perfection in this life, but maybe that's a way to both get closer to my end goal and end the frustration of getting there.

4 comments:

  1. Excellent points. We all want to be a certain type of person but it all starts with the mindset of being that type of person to begin with.

    I think [of it] and therefore I am.

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  2. Great post!! I'm a big goals/list/'to do' person, and it's easy to get wrapped up in getting-it-done mode. Something my friend taught me is to step back every time I'm about to take something on, and check if I'm enjoying who I AM while doing it (am I doing something with integrity, joy & a compassionate heart).

    If I continually struggle & get frustrated (& faced with roadblocks), I revisit the WHY: why do I want to accomplish this, or why do I want to be this - is it for me? is it for someone else? is it for society? That usually either motivates me more, or puts things in perspective at least!

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  3. Excellent post. I think an easier way to approach this is to have a vision. This definitely is stolen from my b-school studies, but bear with me here. First outline your vision. Then define your strategy, which will be measures you take to execute that vision. Then also think about structure. How will your organize the steps in your strategy to make sure that you are realizing your strategy? Simply put, knowing yourself will dictate your actions and your actions should re-inforce who you are. So, if you want to be a person that designs, then act like a designer.

    The thing that makes this difficult is opportunity costs (um, some designers have way more money than others...) as well as the fact that we're humans. We're dynamic beings. Who we want to be today is not who we'll end up being in 10 years. Depending on the experiences we have, we might decide to drastically change the course that we've been diligently trodding on for several years.

    So, I don't actually have a solution, but those are some nuggets for you to chew on!

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  4. These are all things that I want to be too. I've noticed that people who write pf blogs are very goal oriented and I think that makes them more prone to want to improve upon other aspects in their life as well. I'm always striving to be a better version of myself. I wouldn't say I'm a perfectionist, I am just never content to not be improving in some way all the time.

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Thanks for commenting!