“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
1 Corinthians 13:12
I've begun the process of making a career transition, moving out of something I've given lots of time, and will continue to give lots of money for, to move into something completely unrelated, but that calls me. The difficulties of this go beyond the actual mechanics of the change up. The process was underway far before determining when to give two weeks notice, how much I need saved and if that even matters, or where my rent will come from. The process really began with wrestling with the idea that I will no longer be what I said I would be.
In so many instances, our jobs define us. "What do you do?" really means "Who are you?" and places of work become purposes for existence. In evaluating whether I would be content with my creativity operating from behind an office desk, or pursue a career change, I had to answer the question behind the question. "Who am I?" And more importantly, what elements did I use in the equation for the determination of my self. And that, while necessary, is no easy feat. I moved to New York for law school. I left my family behind and moved to a city I'd never even visited, for law school. I spent countless hours in books and financed that time with ungodly amounts of debt, for law school. Years of my life spent in this pursuit, all to ultimately walk away.
But the thing is, if you're moving toward something, then you're always moving away from something else. My decision involved reevaluating my compass. Was I really walking away from law, or was I walking toward a more fitting purpose? In the moment of decision, the question is difficult to answer. A new path only becomes visible once it is walked, and because of life's constant forward progress, there is no going back or doing over. However, though you cannot change the path or the environment your path is created in, you are the creator of your future path. Because you create the path, the path is not your identity, it is merely a reflection of your identity.
When that perspective is understood, then who you are is more than what you do. It is up to you to make your actions follow your identity, and to have what you do show who you are. I may be an attorney, but being an attorney is not I. I may be a photographer, but photography is not I. I am all those things and none of them, because with or without them, it's still me.