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Why Am I Me?

And Why Are You, You?


“You’ll never know who you are unless you shed who you pretend to be.” 

― Vironika Tugaleva


I think a lot. Probably too much if that’s possible. I think about all kinds of things which would be considered strange or a little off-beat for many. I love thinking about the philosophical nature of life and I often wonder about concepts and questions which probably don’t have an answer. It’s all part of finding myself and what my life means.

I also like to ponder things we take for granted or just ignore. Like, right this second, we are on a big round ball hurtling through some huge void. And we don’t feel it. It reminds me of this song from Jimmy Buffett.

The size of the Earth and space is so hard to fathom for me. I can’t wrap my head around some of the incredible ideas and theories in Astronomy, Biology, and other sciences because I’m not that intelligent. But it’s fun to think about anyway.

There is so much we don’t understand about life, death, space, the Earth, and everything else. It’s fascinating if you stop to think about everything around us. I believe most of us don’t appreciate the wonders of the universe and life like we should because, let’s be honest, much of it is unknowable. And we have a lot more personal problems which garner our immediate attention.

But all this thinking I do makes me sometimes lose sleep — and last night was one of those sleepless nights.

Why am I me
Photo by Mindaugas Vitkus on Unsplash

What kept me up?

The question of why am I me?

What I mean is — why am I not someone else like Michael Jordan or Sanjay from India? What about Bill from Iowa? Why am I not Marilyn Monroe or Anna from Poland? And why am I not Beyonce? I bet we all ask ourselves that last question.

And why am I Jeff?

I know the question can’t be answered. But it is incredible to think about because who we were born as has an enormous impact on our life. It’s like a lottery system. While it is possible to win, the majority do not. It’s the luck of the draw and there are many who get the short straw while others are born with a silver spoon.

And while I understand you may be able to determine your own destiny, it is much harder for those who aren’t born with privilege because the whole “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” is largely a myth. But that is a topic for another day.

Where and who you were born to can also determine a lot. It can determine the opportunities available to you, and possibly even your fate. It can determine language and may determine religious beliefs.


“Only when we face the impossible, and experience the unbearable, do we find out who we truly are.” 

― Vironika Tugaleva


But we don’t have a choice in any of it. We can’t choose to be born in a certain place or to certain people. Some of us are born into chaos and misery while others are born into paradise. It’s incredible and baffling all at the same time.

Yet, no matter where or what we are born into, we can’t change it. Each of us is completely unique — and we should learn to embrace that uniqueness.

Even with all my perceived faults and problems I’ve experienced, I wouldn’t trade places with anyone. I’ve been pretty lucky — and I know not everyone is as blessed as I have been. So I’m grateful for who I am and where I’m at even though it’s not where I want to be yet. Because it could be much worse.

So even though I may want to be as fast as Shalane Flanagan when I run or be able to write like Stephen King, I’m happy I’m me.

Because I’m finding out that learning to love who you are is important for living the life you want.

And once you accept who you are, you can begin to be free.

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