Deciding Who I Am

I am taking a break from blogging about our Washington DC adventure, which just so happens to be winding down. We’ll be on the road again soon, making our way back to Great Plains. And I am okay with that. You see, the past couple of posts have had a general theme of reinvigoration. It truly is amazing how much more alive I feel around the hustle and bustle of a city with endless options of outdoor activities, restaurants, and museums. As much as the wide open spaces of country life appeals to my romantic side, I’m more at home among the worn pavement, tall trees, and condensed populations. I’m sure that I would eventually tire of the crowds and smaller spaces and yearn for the simple small town life again, but the beauty within the variety of landscapes that comprise our country is what makes it possible to float back and forth between them.


The blogosphere is littered with blogs about finding oneself. Some are popular. Some are abandoned. And many are authored by women trying to make sense of the life they’ve fallen into. I know the feeling. Not that I am displeased with the direction of my life – far from it. But having been together for almost 11 years, Clay and I have grown into adulthood together. And when I was 18 and sitting next to Clay on the futon in his dorm room, I never in a million years imagined our journey together would evolve into the story it has. After all, I was planning from graduating college, falling into a big city with bright lights, and living in an unrealistic apartment a’la Friends or Sex in the City (clearly I was young and naive). Instead I ended up falling in love with a soldier, moving to frozen tundra, and learning just how isolating but incredibly fulfilling this lifestyle can be. Fast forward 6 years and a couple of states later, and I am now living in southwest Oklahoma, staying at home with a two-year-old. And trying to make sense of this life that has somehow become mine over the past two decades.


I am only 29 but I think I am starting to grasp an important concept – maybe we are not meant to discover who we are. Instead, maybe we’re meant to decide who we are. And our ability to decide who we are hinges on our attitude and reaction to the curveballs we experience along the journey. I have learned that change is necessary for an exciting life. I have learned that change can hurt. And I have learned that change can be the ingredient to a life fulfilled beyond our wildest dreams. Louise May Alcott summed it up best – I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship. And I am glad that Clay’s ship is right there beside mine so we weather the exciting and fearful storms together. So here’s to change. And here’s to whatever storms may be in our path – without them, we’d never be able to learn of what we’re made.


9 thoughts on “Deciding Who I Am

  1. At the risk of sounding like a weird stalker freak, do you ever read a post and think, “I want to be her friend?” If your answer is, “No.” Then, I say, “ya me either.” BUT, if your answer is, “yes,” then that totally just happened to me!

  2. Sounds like you’re learning some good lessons. Our life hasn’t turned out the way we thought it would when we stopped dreaming has “his” and “my” and started dreaming about “us” and “our”, but it has been better, and more worthwhile than anything we ever imagined. Enjoy the journey!

  3. Dude, where were you on Tuesday when I literally had a nervous breakdown in my kitchen when my husband, after a long 12 hour day (and a VEEERRRRRY rough toddler afternoon) walked in the door and announced “I’m going for a run”. I literally started sobbing. WTF is wrong with me?
    You are right about so many things. We have room in our life for everything – from the frozen tundra to the bustling brick sidewalks of Annapolis. It is fun to experience it all in one lifetime, and not everyone gets the chance to do that. It is one of the reasons I am coming to terms with the idea of heading to Kansas later this year after 31 years in the Mid Atlantic.
    And as for the idea of whether we find out who we are or decide who we are – who knows. But one think John and I have noticed about our lifestyle is that we are learning A LOT about what we like through the military. By living in so many towns, in so many homes, with so many kids of people, it gives us a unique hands-on experience. By the time he retires and we “settle down”, I think we will really KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt, where we want to be. With more certainty than the average person. I’m thankful for that.

  4. Awesome post Karen. And I couldn’t agree with you more when you said, “maybe we are not meant to discover who we are. Instead, maybe we’re meant to decide who we are.” Ain’t that the truth.

  5. oh wow! thank you so much for this post – it gave me the goosebumps. to think that we women all around this world have so many similarities when it comes down to knowing and accepting who we are. I also find myself trying to understand how life happened the way it did and how did I get here 😉 lovely to ‘meet’ your blog.

  6. I. Love. This. Post. I think you are absolutely right. I love your point about how deciding who we are depends on how we choose to react to life. I haven’t been through quite as much change as you, but I do agree that in my life it seems as if the more fruitful and graceful transitions are the ones in which I choose accept the change. Beautiful post 🙂

  7. Thank you for all of the lovely comments. I am glad to know that I am not alone out there. And thank you for taking time to comment. It seriously makes me smile. Thank you!

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