Who am I?

At this point, I should be on my way back to Switzerland, if everything went well, returning from Lofoten Islands which is highlighted on the image below.

🤔 What I’ve been thinking about

It seems that I keep forgetting who I am.

Ok, maybe that sounds more dramatic than it really is, I’m not like that poor guy in that movie Memento. What I mean is I don’t really have a stable identity.

If I had to give you an executive summary of who I am and what I’m about, I’d have a really hard time coming up with something.

Who am I?

I just read a very short book by Ramana Maharshi with that very title, where he states that the correct answer to this question is “awareness”, essentially, but this didn’t really resolve my confusion.

Is my lack of identity linked to my difficulties in recalling my past (which I’ve written about before)? Probably.

Maybe it’s helpful if I describe it like this: I feel like my operating system changes regularly. One day I will wake up with Windows 10 as my operating system, being kind of up to date and well-adjusted. But the next day, I might wake up with Windows 98, then it might be Linux, MacOs or worse, Windows XP.

The problem is that the projects I’ve been working on using Windows 10 aren’t compatible with Linux, or they’re all weird buggy and don’t make sense anymore. The best idea from two days ago might sound like the worst idea ever, now that my operating system and value system seems to be exchanged.

The root cause for that confusion is, I think, that my brain works in abstractions. I don’t see life through one lens, one perspective that thinks drugs are bad and family and church is good. I see life through 5-10 lenses, perspectives, whatever you want to call it, and in a way I have 5-10 personalities. Sometimes more.

Sometimes it’s one perspective for a week, but sooner or later my 9 other personalities seem to randomly get loaded into my brain. A friend said I have 10 personalities, and 2 of them are assholes – you never know which one you’ll get.

It’s not all too hard to guess why this might be problematic: One day I wake up thinking I should move to Berlin and become a music producer, high on weed and mushrooms most of the time. Then the next day I will hate the idea of being in a large city. Sometimes I’m obsessed with working out, then I’ll stop working out for half a year.

The lack of identity can lead to one being dragged around by life. With other people, it’s hard to set boundaries if you don’t know what your boundaries are. I’m more vulnerable, a demanding boss or a dominant partner might “override” my unstable operating system and take advantage of me. I’ll become a chameleon, a mere shadow of what little personality and identity I had before.

Is this just indecisiveness? Shizophrenia, even? I’m not sure – I honestly feel like I’m some kind of ghost who can transform into different things. A vessel that can take on different forms. I could see myself being a clean-cut family man, or a druggie living an excessive life.

What is my personality, even? Am I shy or outgoing? Do I love to talk, or do I hate it? What about working conscientiously, why do I think I’m good at it if some days I can’t even focus for 10 minutes?

In any case: what’s quite obvious to me is that it would be beneficial if I knew better what I’m about. Here are some strategies I came up with (it’s still work in progress):

  1. Using a whiteboard that I prominently hang in my room, where I write down my weekly goals and 1 or 2 “guiding principles” to remember
  2. Setting reminders in my calendar, not only for routines, but also for certain lessons to remember
  3. Limiting the rumination time. I’m not allowed to second guess everything every day
  4. Just having routines, externally enforced, like an employer or a family, who limit my “rethinking everything” thought loops
  5. Getting a tattoo that reminds me of my identity (I will write about this next week)

😴 What might help you find calm

Intentional ASMR Picks:

Unintentional ASMR Picks: