Finding Your “Place.”

As humans we like to categorize things, people, feelings, anything. Psychologically, we accommodate and assimilate from the minute we know better. Dogs with dogs, cats with cats, shirts in the drawer, dresses on the rack. We even tend to categorize ourselves when we try to find where we feel we fit best or, in other words, where we feel that our “place” in this world or a specific community is.

To do this, we have to know ourselves. We need to know what we like to do, what we value, what we find pride in, what we find distasteful, etc. in order to know ourselves. But knowing yourself isn’t easy, and I’m still unsure as to whether it’s possible to fully know. We discover new things about ourselves almost every day; we have to constantly accommodate and assimilate our own qualities to our own perception of who we are.

With a constant drive to find our “place” in this world and a difficulty in knowing who we really even are, frustration ensues. Feeling like you jump around from too many places or feeling like you don’t belong to any can create sense of lacking community.

The constant drive to categorize ourselves ends up limiting us. You don’t need to be one thing, act in one way, or only hang out with one group of people, or be in any one place. We are where we belong as long as we’re being ourselves and doing what makes us happy, no matter how many “places” we are.

It happens to me a lot. Over the past few years I’ve changed dramatically in some ways and not so much in others. Coming to Hope, I became a lot more involved and a lot more interested in getting to know people than I was in high school, but I still remained in touch with my quieter side that likes to read, write, and be on my own sometimes. With such a contrast, it’s hard to know where I really belong. I guess a good motto to follow is to just go and be where I’m happy.

Our place where we belong might be constantly changing day by day, and we need to learn to live with the differences and inconsistencies, to not try to fit ourselves into one box labeled ‘this is me’. Instead we should open up our boxes, dumb out the contents, and sort through it all. We have more room to fit new stuff into them and we don’t need to constrict the size or space that it occupies. It can be tiring but reassuring that if you’re doing what feels right to you in the moment, you’re in the right “place”.

Thanks for reading,

Brooke

If you have any questions for me you can contact me at brookelyn.wharton@hope.edu, through Facebook, or my Twitter @hopebrooke18! I’d love to answer them!

Being Happy Where You Are

Beach photos. Tan, with ice cream cones dripping in their henna-tattooed hands. Driving a dune buggy and soaking up some rays.

No, I wasn’t on vacation this past week, but I sure saw a lot of pictures from people who were.

I was at home, taking pictures of my breakfast and my cat and dog, living it up in the clouds and brown grass outside my Detroit suburb home. I got a little bitter and jealous of everyone having a fun-filled vacations.

This is normal, I think, because isn’t it natural for someone sitting around in cold Michigan to wish they could be somewhere warm with friends? Sounds reasonable. But still there’s a part of me that realizes how far this extends into other places in life, such as the college you go to, the job you have, and so much more.

Life’s about being happy where you are. It’s about looking at what’s around you and finding the best in it, making the best of it. I tried to do that over break once I realized where my mindset was. So I made breakfast at midnight with my step-sister, Hannah, for her 22nd birthday (See Taylor Swift’s “22”), exercised, went on trips with my dog, and made homemade donuts. Sometimes you have to make your own adventures.

As I write this I’m in the car on the way back to Holland, and I’m so excited! The sun is warming up and we only have about 5 weeks left. The summer before Hope, I was so excited! Then when I was at school for about the first month, I wanted to be anywhere but Hope. After learning to love the place I’m at, there isn’t anywhere I’d rather be. It just takes some time to adjust : -) Even if you don’t feel okay at the beginning, I guarantee that it will turn around!

For anybody, I encourage you to keep this thought in your mind. For prospective students – remember that the college transition, wherever you go, will not be easy. You’ll find yourself perusing Facebook and wishing you were having as much fun as your friends, when they might be feeling the same way.

Give it time and give it love. : -)

I’m sure my bitter feelings will resurface once I see all of my friends tan faced, but I’ll just think of this post and be glad that I’m one less vacation away from wrinkly skin when I’m old.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you have any questions for me you can contact me at brookelyn.wharton@hope.edu, through Hope on Facebook, or my Twitter @hopebrooke18! I’d love to answer them!