Well here is one of those crazy months that has a fifth Sunday! So I’m going to take a moment to reflect on writing this blog and to pull myself together into one person, rather than separating myself into three different parts.
When I started this blog, I set up the whole thing to examine the three different parts of myself (nerd, adventurer, and old-lady-hobbit). I wanted to acknowledge that those three parts of myself could exist together in the same person, and to examine how they strengthened and complimented each other. Sometimes I feel pressure to choose one part of myself over the others, and this blog was a bit of a rebellion against that.
Adventurer seems to play a role in most of the confusion I get from other people. It seems to me that being a hobbit doesn’t make me less of an adventurer, and being an adventurer doesn’t make me less content with being a hobbit.
When I go to the yarn store and get advice from the lovely older women there, I am fully immersed in my old-lady-hobbit self. We chat about tea and cable stitches, debate metal versus wooden needles. But when I mention I’m going to go for a hike with some scrambling up big rocks before sitting down with my new yarn and needles, I am met with consternation. Perhaps it’s because these women have all been mothers, but their first response is usually along the lines of safety. Am I going alone? Does someone know where I’m going? Do I carry a first aid kit? These are all good questions! (And the answers are usually “yes,” “of course,” and “it’s freshly stocked.”)
Eventually, though, these kind ladies let me go on my way, smiling about youth and our boundless energy. I don’t mind becoming an adventurer in front of my hobbit friends so much. But going the other way, from adventurer to hobbit, seems a bit different to me.
When I grew up, I spent the vast majority of my time with kids who adventured. We skied, we biked, we ran through the woods. My childhood mantra was “keep up.” Popularity was based on the latest craziest thing you did. Everyone was constantly trying to prove themselves. Now, I never was the craziest, not by a long shot. But I was usually good enough to keep up. I also (unknowingly at the time) earned respect because I was smart. Even though some of my friends didn’t get why I cared so much about school, they appreciated the fact that I worked hard and was successful. In their eyes, it wasn’t so different than training hard and being successful on the hill.
But though many of my adventurer friends understood, at least in part, my nerdiness, my hobbit-ness seemed just plain weird. Why would I want to sit inside and read a book when there were adventures to be had? Being a hobbit seems, in some ways, flat out contradictory to the idea of YOLO (you only live once…it’s sort of a modern reincarnation of “carpe diem” for those who are unfamiliar). And as I worked my way through college and tried to meet new people, I was always scared of presenting myself as a hobbit. I was (and sometimes still am) worried that it will make me seem weak, unambitious, or generally lame.
I need both my adventurous nature and my hobbit. Both give me energy in different ways. Both teach me different things. I deeply appreciate both the travel-itch wanderlust that surfaces frequently in my heart and the deep roots I have in Colorado. Being an adventurer gives me the strength to share myself and to learn new things, and being a hobbit gives me the strength to know myself.
Of course, I don’t mean to leave out my nerdiness. But as I pointed out, there are some similarities between mental and physical achievement; both require hard work, determination, and patience. There are also similarities between nerdiness and being a hobbit; both can be individual pursuits and neither involves physical daring.
The way I’m writing about these three parts of me make them seem like separate things. Sometimes it’s useful to separate myself out into different parts as a mental exercise; it can help me identify parts of myself or help me remember to take care of myself. But sometimes it’s important to unify myself into one single person. These three parts of me are deeply intertwined with each other. And so I’m going to make a minor change to the structure of my blog to reflect this.
I originally set up my posting schedule like this: the first Sunday of the month was a nerd post, the second Sunday was an adventurer post, and the third Sunday was an old-lady-hobbit post. I left the fourth Sunday of the month as writer’s choice. I’m not going to change this structure much, but I am going to slightly redefine what happens on that fourth Sunday. Rather than a free-for-all writer’s choice, I’m going to post something that highlights how two or more of these identities come together in my life.
If you look back at my previous fourth-Sunday posts, this is very much what I ended up doing anyway, so it shouldn’t feel like a huge shift. However, there is a lot to be said for intentionality. So as I go to choose topics, now I can be more intentional about how I’m representing these three parts of myself. They aren’t three separate things, and I really did start this blog to show how they didn’t have to be three separate things. This structure will allow me to better focus on that idea.
The last thing I have to tell you is the most important. I absolutely love writing this blog. I sometimes write posts in advance of Sunday just because I want to. This is, in part, because I choose to write about thing I enjoy or things I care about. But it’s also because of the conversations you all start with me. So to everyone who was read these and enjoyed them, thank you for sharing that time with me. To everyone who has replied to me, thank you. This has come in the form of phone calls, Skypes, letters, Google docs, comments, likes, and shares. You all make this worth while!
Your homework: Do you see yourself as multiple pieces, or as a unified whole? How does that mindset affect how you talk to yourself and how you present yourself to others?