Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I Believe...in finding myself?

Brian Grazer was on NPR yesterday. I listened to his "I Believe" story.

The "I Believe" is a three minute monologue from someone (sometimes a famous person) about their core belief. Anyone can contribute (see http://www.npr.org/thisibelieve/agree.html).

Sometimes the story is light, like "There's no such thing as too much barbecue." Other times it's serious and thought provoking, for example "Human existence is in peril."

I must say though, usually it's vapid.

Not that Brian Grazer's "Disrupting my comfort zone" fits that category but it WAS sorta silly. I mean, a man of 45 still looking for himself? At least that's the essence of what he said. I think his exact words were: "bombarding myself with challenging people and situations." Fidel Castro was one of the people on his list to 'challenge him.' Come on, Castro? Is this going to help one grow? The way I see it, if you haven't found yourself at 45, you are truly lost. Sure you may be financially successful, but you're still living without purpose.

Besides, I've never understood the term: "I need to find myself." What is that anyway? What is a lost "self?" I can understand lonely. I can understand someone who has lost direction in life, or someone who is sad, or has fear. But a 'need to find yourself?' This doesn't resonate true with me.

Sometimes I'll hear that the person is going on some retreat, hiking in the back country, meditating on their belly button, or something just as ridiculous. Trying to find oneself while alone in a forest is like trying to find your way home without a map. It's challenging yes, but it will not lead you to a safe destination. We don't gain understanding or find direction, we don't gain friends and strengthen families by isolating ourselves. That's what terrorists and unibombers do. They become so self-absorbed that they no longer fit in with society, nor can they even relate to their own relatives. Isolation is the recipe for personal disaster.

Don't get me wrong. Slowing down I get. My favorite "I Believe" so far was "The practice of slowing down" by Phil Powers. It was real, it was practical, and it just made sense. Perfect sense.

But "finding oneself" just doesn't get it for me.

How do I find myself? I've never lost myself yet. -Charlie McCarthy