A world citizen may provide value to society by using knowledge acquired across cultural contexts.
Who you are is a conscious choice.
If you think back, you can likely pull up a few moments that define who you are. The death of a parent while you were at a young age that forced you to grow up too soon. The brilliant advice of a mentor that rung true to your core. The loss of a close friend causing vows of never repeating the actions that led to that outcome.
But the defining moments game is one that gives a false impression of our own agency in who we are. Every moment is a defining moment. Every action, every outcome is a lesson to be learned if we want to see it. Every lack of decision is a decision in itself. We are made by our actions, over and over. We are made by our routines or lack thereof. We are the product of our experiences.
You may see a person you admire, the person who is better read or more thought out, more exciting or more personable, kinder or calmer. You may want that for yourself. But many of us want that in the way we want to lose weight or learn an instrument or foreign language. Yeah, it would be awesome if we were that person. But that takes conscious effort, and there is the disconnect.
We are who we are through the choices we make. We can take the time to introspect, to figure out who we want to be. We can determine our ideal selves. And we can sit down and map the hours in the day. We can break the larger goals into chunks and break those into actions and timelines. We can map out the path from current to actualized. And we can evaluate at milestones along the way, adjusting course as needed, dropping ventures or adopting others as we see fit.
Or we can sit down and watch another episode of the show that is on because it is on, not because we sat down to specifically watch it.
Every day, every hour, every minute is a choice. Every action can help us get closer to who we want to be. But it is a conscious path to get there. And it isn’t easy. And it isn’t automatic. We define ourselves not just by the big actions and grand gestures, but by the small ones as well.
On the road, you can be in a place for a short time. You roll in excited, fun, interesting. People are drawn to it. And if you roll in on the wrong foot, you keep moving. Or you start up a conversation with someone else on the right foot. You’ve got no history, no roots, no grand plan.
Durham took me a while because I didn’t consciously choose at first. A routine developed, patterns emerged. But had I consciously sat down on Day One and set them, they would have looked much closer to the ones that came to be in the second half of my time there than the ones that existed at first. I came to be seen as the person I wanted to be in the role I wanted to occupy, but it was active choices on my part that got me there. Not grand decisions, but decisions nonetheless.
DC will not be that way. I am not wasting time letting the chips fall and then trying to rearrange them. I’m drawing up my image of the city, the social scene, and my place within them. I’m choosing the ideal version of myself that I will be. And I’m making it happen. This is a project. This is an important project. And I’m going to manage it right.