One of the author's rules during this project was to be herself -- to Be Gretchen. And while "be yourself" has become maybe the most trite advice there ever was, the way she talked about Being Gretchen really hit home for me. She said:
"I tended to overrate the fun activities that I didn't do and underrate my own inclinations. I felt like the things that other people enjoyed were more valuable, or more cultured... more, well, legitimate. But now it was time to 'Be Gretchen.' I needed to acknowledge to myself what I enjoyed, not what I wished I enjoyed."
This sentiment hit home so much for me! Remember my post about being an introvert? I think this is a driving force behind it, and I hadn't really identified it before reading this book. The college lifestyle and stereotype makes going out and partying the only "valid" way to have a good time in college. But that wasn't the life I wanted to lead, and so I felt boring.
|This is me being me :)|
Also, I really, really want to be someone who takes off to hike the Appalachians or who can live a lifestyle where they travel from country to country following their wanderlust wherever it takes them. But I think in a more traditional, nine-to-five-job frame of mind. And that's ok. I think.
Still, it's sad to admit you'll never be That Person, or That Kind of Cool. Gretchen talked about that feeling as well:
"But I have to admit it -- being Gretchen and accepting my true likes and dislikes brings me a kind of sadness. I will never visit a jazz club at midnight, hang out in artists' studios, jet off to Paris for the weekend, or pack up to go fly-fishing on a spring dawn.... It make me sad for two reasons. First, it makes me sad to realize my limitations. The world offers so much! -- so much beauty, so much fun, and I am unable to appreciate most of it. But it also makes me sad because in many ways, I wish I were different. One of my Secrets of Adulthood is 'You can choose what you do; you can't choose what you like to do.' I have a lot of notions about what I wish I liked to do, about the subjects and occupations that I wish interested me. But it doesn't matter what I wish I were like. I am Gretchen."
All this being said -- I will continue to try new things. Because you never know which ones will stick. (the first time I went running was miserable. and now...)
But I think it's okay to find that some of those things you think would be so cool to like are not so fun to you, really. I don't like playing flip cup (the drinking game). It's too much pressure and I'm bad at it and I don't like it.
And that is ooooooookay.
Is there anything you feel like you should like or wish you liked that you just don't? Others on my list: snowboarding, red wine and fancy (expensive) haircuts.
PS: another great e.e. cummings quote: "To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."