“Who Am I?” A question most of us struggle with at some point in life.
Sitting in front of my computer monitor is a little plaque that my daughter gave me years ago that reads; “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” I like that message. It tells us that who we really are is not some elusive discovery, but a process that we have control of.
Looking back on my life, I see how I have always followed pathways that allowed me to have some control over the process. I love fly fishing because unlike regular fishing where the fish seems to be in control, fly fishing puts me in control. I select the fly pattern, and I chose the placement of my cast by reading the water. With other types of fishing, I often like a spectator. With fly fishing, I feel like a participant.
Lately, that quest to discover who I am has taken a new direction. Maybe it is because I am in my senior citizen years with more time for reflection. I don’t know. What I do know is, for me, I feel like I have come home to who I have always been. Let me explain.
My typical morning looks like this. On winter mornings, like now, I get up quietly and get dressed in the dark so my wife can sleep a little longer. The house is chilly because I turn the feed rate down on the wood pellet stove before going to bed. After raising the feed rate and adding more pellets to the hopper I get the coffee going. As I scoop the coffee from the three pound can I shake my head at the thought of people who pay as much for one fancy cup of coffee as I do for a can of coffee that will last more than a month.
Once the coffee is ready I take my mug and sit in front of the stove to watch the flames. It is my favorite time of day. A quiet time. A time for reflection. A time to watch the first rays of morning sun illuminating the trees.
This, then, is who I am. A good old country boy, a mountain man. I tried city living but hated it. I tried living in the “flat-lands” and couldn’t breathe. I have stayed with rich people in houses that feel as warm and comfortable as a hospital. There were egos living there but no hearts… no souls. The one common denominator with those places was there was no laughter. For me, nothing is as sad as a life lacking warmth and laughter.
It has taken me sixty-eight years to get back here. I plan to stay here until the day I depart from this world, and that is O.K. with me.
So where is your true home? Is it the city, the country, in the mountains, in the desert? If you are content there, own it and love it. Stop trying to justify it to those who don’t understand. If you are happy there, even when alone, then you have found a rare treasure in this life.