Becoming a whole person

So I read something interesting in Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen the other day, and I’ll quote it here:

“This wasn’t the person he thought he was, or would have chosen to be if he’d been free to choose, but there was something comforting and liberating about being an actual definite someone, rather than a collection of contradictory potential someone’s.”

I know that I’ve found myself so often in the position of ‘being a collection of contradictory potential someone’s’, and this is so true in your formative years when you’re still trying to figure out who you are.  You try on a bunch of different personalities and behaviors and actions and thought patterns to see which ones you like, and this is something that’s absolutely necessary.  But it’s also something that’s stressful when you have to shift back and forth between them all.

To seek and eventually find that one definite person that you are, or at least are comfortable being, is, in my opinion, the purpose of the entire first part of your life.  Until you figure that out, nothing else really contains much significance.  Everything that you do up to that point is a flailing, a trying, a desire to figure out who you are.

Then once you realize who that person is, is when you can begin to do something meaningful, and really contribute something.  Coming from a standpoint of Experience + Contribution, you can’t actually contribute anything until you’ve reached this milestone.   Everything before then would just be experience.  And experience is great, but experience without contribution is hollow.

Living your life solely for the experiences, for the pleasure, and not actually contributing anything significant is what leads to existential angst and a constant burning desire for more meaning to life.  Some people can live their lives like this and be perfectly happy, which is fine, but for many of us, we want and need more.

Well your contribution is that meaning.  And this is where life fulfillment begins.


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