Do you remember that episode of SpongeBob where he lost his name-tag? If not, I'd suggest going back and rewatching the 58th episode, "Missing Identity."
Who knew that Spongebob Squarepants went through such trying times while flipping patties and yelling "I'M READY!"?
I've never lost a name-tag, but I do feel that some of my previous identity is lost. If someone were to ask me at this exact time last year (January2017) what my career would be, my answer would be what it had been since I was 10 years old: "I want to be a professional ballet dancer in New York City."
Today, this dream is no longer existent. A large amount of vulnerability is felt in admitting this because I held so much comfort relying on that dream to identify myself. "Shannon, the blonde ballerina," was a phrase that was often used to describe me, and I felt content with that.
As I have so recently learned, sometimes life does not allow one to stay comfortably stagnant. My "cookie-cutter" plan of moving to New York City after obtaining a degree in Ballet did not happen. This fairytale plan became just that: a fairytale.
Even though this self-loss can create a feeling of loneliness, I know I am not the only 21-year-old college student struggling with an identity crisis. Transitioning from childhood to adulthood is difficult enough, but when you subtract the familiarity of parents, childhood friends, and passions, it can make the transition feel as if one is in the twilight zone. Being suddenly stripped of the guidance from these factors can often be an unnerving experience.
In college, we all have been put in situations that we never expected to be in, and have made choices accordingly. Some may have had to make the decision to go to the party, or not go to the party; to continue ballet, or try something new. Each of us has made choices that have surprised us, leaving us bewildered as we can no longer recognize the person we see in the mirror.
We then all relate entirely too much with Harry Potter when he asks his owl, "Who am I Hedwig, what am I?" in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
While this time in our lives still appears foggy, we can all take comfort in one outcome. It is impossible to not grow as a person, in response to change. If roadblocks appear, we find an alternate route and continue driving. Whether we make the wrong or right choices, we learn, we develop, and we grow into our new identity.
Finding your identity may not be as simple as finding your name tag on the back of your shirt, and it may require eating snail-food repeatedly until you can figure things out.
However, I'm sure the journey on retrieving your identity will make for a great, 20-minute episode on a children's tv show, much like SpongeBob Squarepants.