What do I choose to be?

By Purity Kimani Wanjiru

Growing older presents one with numerous opportunities to forge their identity and self-actualize. In every moment, there is an array of choices to be made. You are forced to choose what to take up and what to ignore. In such moments, even acting indifferent is a choice and with it comes consequences. Not choosing, which seems safer, also has its sets of consequences. Every choice then defines who you are at that moment.

The thing about life is that even as you continuously make decisions, advice never stops flowing in from every direction.

The loudest people in my life have always said, “Don’t let opportunity pass you by. Take it and run!” Well, what if you’re good at four things and have six opportunities right in front of you as a result? Should you gobble them all up or should you get picky? In such moments, their voices in my head are even louder.

When it comes to this, the second loudest people then say, “You’re still young. Live life, say yes to things and take risks!” This sounded like a thing I would do and keep up with until I tried it. Perhaps I had misinterpreted the advice.

Opportunities would come my way and I would decline very few. Even then, I felt like I had failed the youth in me. This went on for years and eventually, I couldn’t handle it. It became exhausting. All the things I was good at were done with little enjoyment and below average results. Consequently, I dropped everything so as to figure myself out.

In the process, I learnt the concept of ‘creation by making a choice’. At first, it seemed idealistic and out of touch with the reality that I have always known since birth – one of life happening to me as opposed to being the driving force of it. This perspective has since changed. I have been able to put the concept to test and seen it work in my life.

The realization that only I am responsible for the things that happen in my life through the choices that I make was a glorious and empowering one. I loved that it gave me control over my actions and life in totality. It also brought forth another realization:

If you chose too many different things all at once, you will attract many different experiences which would only lead to different possibilities and thus, plenty of confusion. For instance, if you chose to be an actress, a scientist, rapper and politician at the same time, you would draw to yourself experiences that urge you to act, be in the lab, rap and politick all at once. Imagine the confusion!

Many would probably not see it as confusing because we all want to be superhuman and do everything! Though choosing everything looks rosy, the reality is that you rob yourself off the consistency that comes with choosing only one thing. Consequently, you end up becoming a master at nothing.

One would wonder whether by making a choice, they would ever explore other emerging and existing interests. The thing is, choosing one thing consistently clears the way for everything else, enabling them to be explored when they are meant to be. There’s less confusion here.

This concept also goes against diversification and the safety we’re told it comes with. Nevertheless, I’d rather be master than a jack of all trades with little to show for it in the end. I desire to have a solid legacy in which people would easily pinpoint what I was about. Also, choosing one thing consistently sharpens your focus. You say no to both good and bad opportunities because they simply don’t serve you.

That being said, in this journey of self-discovery, I continue to explore the question: What do I choose to be?

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