Not Knowing Who You Are Is An Opportunity To Reinvent Yourself. 

This Sunday morning I woke up at 7:30, did my skincare routine (which basically is putting creams on my face, but said in a glamorous way), and then went with my running club to run in a beautiful park. I came back, took a shower, had breakfast copied from M’s house (decaf coffee and a couple of toasts with oil and jam) and started to be productive: writing emails, some university tasks, drafting this email… At 1 pm, I’ll stop for an appetizer: a beer and a plate of ham on the balcony. In between, I received an Amazon package that contained a box, and upon seeing that it was perfect for what I needed, I started jumping and screaming and shouting, and well, you’ve never seen (nor will you see) anyone so happy about a box. [No, not even a cat.]

Two months ago, it was also Sunday (in fact, Sundays tend to happen once a week, so it wasn’t really anything special), but it was a very different Sunday. It was a Sunday of sleeping a lot, getting up very late, of not knowing what to do or where to go. Of wandering aimlessly, of meeting strangers for coffee that I just wanted to end. Of not crying. Of feeling lost, of not knowing who I am, what I like, how much of what I am is really mine and how much belongs to someone else. How much of my personality did I create to fit in?

Being 28 years old and not knowing who you are is hard.

Waking up one morning unable to trust your most basic tastes, unsure of anything, unable to listen to the one person who knows the truth about you: yourself. Searching on Google, “I don’t know what I like, I don’t know who I am“, it recommends “make a list of things you enjoy” and thinking, “I don’t enjoy anything, nothing makes me happy“, having it ask “what things make you lose track of time?” “Nothing, nothing fills me enough” “What is your personality like?” “I DON’T KNOW“.

It was tough. It was difficult. Losing yourself like that. Giving so much that you end up with nothing. Without your essence.

One afternoon scrolling through social media (looking at TikTok was the only thing I did during those weeks), the algorithm recommended country houses, and I realized that I always went back to that. No matter what happened, I always ended up dreaming of country houses with animals, green shutters, and a wall full of ivy (although practically speaking, ivy can be very dangerous because it can affect the structure and blah blah blah, but we haven’t come here to talk about practical things but about dreams).

I bought a green diary, which is the colour of this period of my life, and one afternoon when I didn’t want to be alone at home, I went to a bar, ordered a beer and sat on a bench to create a list that I called “The constants in my life“: the little that I knew about myself, the little that I always went back to, the fantasies that never went away, the dreams that always repeated themselves. There were 4 things. 4. But they were a beginning.

The next day M. bought me plane tickets to go to Spain after Easter. Friends weren’t on that list because they’re too basic. They’re like breathing.

Two days later, I bought train tickets to go on a weekend trip to visit a photography exhibition. Art was one of the four points on my list, and I needed somewhere to start.

Three days later, I drew a plan of the house of my dreams in my diary, which, although it varies over the years, also has things that repeat again and again.

Nine days later, I went on that trip and had a conversation with my tutor that I will remember for the rest of my life and that made me go back to the university that I had abandoned for weeks.

Twelve days later, I remembered that BEFORE, I wanted to live in NY or Denmark. I had forgotten.

Nineteen days later, I rescued a stray cat. Animals were another point on my list. Then it turned out not to be a stray and went back to its owner. But it made me smile for five days, cook for the first time in weeks, and sit in the sun on the balcony.

30 days later, I dreamed that I never wanted to get lost again.

34 days later, I travelled to Spain and during the first morning there, drinking beers with M., a necklace that tied me to the past broke (it broke literally; it’s not a metaphor). I took thousands of photos (this is not a metaphor either) and met many people. One of them is a very beautiful person, and we’ve made a place for each other in our lives, hopefully for a long time. His name is also M., so I don’t know how I’ll manage it. They can be M. girl and M. boy from now on. I felt very loved (which was something I hadn’t felt in a long time) and talked a lot (which was very liberating).

54 days later, back in the UK, I wrote in my diary about that trip, and for the first time, I was able to write about things that I had been blocking for two months. I also made a list of more things that I had forgotten: that I like to have an appetizer on Sundays, that I used to have pizza and movie Fridays, that I love preparing a weekly menu and cooking, that my dream house always smells like cake, that routines bring peace to my life and that friends should be [almost] always the first priority. Next to it, I made a third list of things that I had always wanted to include in my life but hadn’t been able to [because instead, I filled it with things I shouldn’t have]: start running [and take it seriously], facial care routines, batch cooking (which is basically cooking one day for the whole week, but with a cool word) and having breakfast at the living room table instead of not doing it at all.

55 days later, it was Sunday, and I made five dishes to have something to eat for the rest of the week.

57 days later, it was my first day with the running club. Running with someone gives you extra energy than running alone doesn’t.

60 days later, it was Friday, and I had a pineapple pizza for dinner.

61 days later, I made a lemon and poppy seed cake that smells so good and tastes so delicious that it’s probably banned in some countries. I remembered that I’m a good baker.

62 days later is today.