I have always had two fighting alter egos:
One is the hippie chick in the flip flops who lives on an island, working as a dive-master-slash-yoga-instructor. She’s probably named after a flower and spends her spare time painting and volunteering at the local animal shelters. She may have had dreads at one point in her life, and she loves to lay on the beach and read. She frequents drum circles and Kenny Chesney concerts.
The other is the bad bitch in the pencil skirt who lives in a high rise apartment in the city, fearless as she climbs the corporate ladder. She’s up at the crack of dawn to train for her upcoming marathon, and others envy her drive and her killer legs. She drinks black coffee until 3PM and red wine after 5PM. She knows what she wants and she’s not afraid to go after it. People around her look up to her and strive to keep up.
While I am neither of these things, I am both. Growing up I could picture myself in these two roles, living these two lifestyles. There have been times I fought to be one more than the other, leaning into each heavily as I picture what my life could be like. I realized that fighting to fit into one persona just left me feeling stuck and unfulfilled, because I’m not meant to fit into one – and that’s ok.
I grew up thinking that what I chose as a career would define who I am as a person, and that’s just not the case. While I strive to be successful and looked up to, I also strive to be balanced and focus on my passions. Sometimes I wear pencil skirts and go for long runs, other days I wear flip-flops and yoga in the grass.
Matthew McConaughey (pause for drool wipe) said it best at a 2014 acceptance speech for Dallas Buyers Club. Long story short, he talks about how his idol has always been himself in 10 years. He focuses on who he wants to be and what he wants to accomplish, and even as the years pass he still works towards the next 10 years, never saying “ok, that’s good enough”.
Long story short: instead of trying to mold yourself into a specific persona, focus on being the person that you’ll be proud of in 10 years. After all, life is too exciting to limit yourself to just one.