First of all. I think it's ironic that this post has two labels at the bottom.
Anyway. Existential crisis time. Who are you?
It's a simple question. You say your name, they give theirs, and you proceed to move on with your day. But who are you really?
You could tell me your GPA or major or ACT or purity test number or any other number you think will define you. You could also tell me your dreams and aspirations. You could tell me about your parents or religion and what they want you to be. Or become the guy that that one girl in your calculus class may fall for. Or maybe even by your favorite pizza. Personally I see myself as a Sicilian pizza. But whatever you choose to do, don't ever forget that it's your choice and you can change it if you want.
I don't think identity is something other people should define for you. It's something that you come to know for yourself. Whether it's on a service trip or in school or on a date, we make the choice of deciding who we are. Because contrary to popular belief (at least in religion), you can decide what truly has meaning in your life.
Yes it's true you can make it religion, but it doesn't have to be one singular topic. It can be dance with accounting and climbing and so many other things. But don't be something else just to satisfy others.
When I was little and even now, my ward saw me as the perfect boy in my ward (church congregation). Did everything I had to do, passed everything, extremely social, highly academic, and even though all of those factors were there, I was not happy. Was it a good life? Yes of course! But that's not the same thing. And when I finally committed a mistake or wrongdoing I punished at a higher level. But I didn't let that get to me. Sure I can go to the default setting of my depression, or feel pathetic about the things I've done wrong. But I won't let that be me. It's true that these beautiful mistakes helped create me, but I still have the choice to see myself as something more. To allow my clarity or good acts define me.
WHY DO I CARE?
Because the more that we mature and grow up, your identity becomes infinitely more important. I mean if you don't even know yourself, how do you expect someone else to know who you are? Take it a step further. If you can't love yourself or feel confident in yourself, then why are you expecting that girl or boy to feel different.
Of course there are times when they probably don't even care. In fact, depending on the person it can be quite the opposite. I know in my life I've had times when I had to decide whether I should pursue a girl or just be myself. Because too often, they conflict with one another.
But you know what? No matter what identity you decide or stick to in the end, as long as you're happy with who you are, then is there anything more to ask for? For the significant maybes and lost opportunity costs, it's okay. There are always more to come and it's best to stay optimistic. Don't ruin a friendship because it didn't work out. Make new memories. Do something crazy. Because in the end, when we forget all that there is, when their names seem like a dream, we'll only remember how it feels.