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A Shift in Identity

I think I’m a pretty adventurous person. I enjoy planning and the anticipation, the wave of curiosity and determination that washes over me before taking the first step. I love exploring places I’ve never been and doing things I’ve never done. I love the sense of empowerment and accomplishment I feel when I’ve done the thing I set out to do. Typically when I set an adventurous goal for myself, even one I’m a little (or a lot) terrified of, I have very little doubt that I’ll succeed.

I can think back to the first half marathon I ran. When I signed up for the race I had never run more than 4 miles, and even though I was intimidated, I never really thought that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I committed to the training plan, ran my miles every week, and 3 months later, finished my first half marathon. The same happened when I ran a marathon, completed the Pikes Peak Ascent and thru-hiked The Colorado Trail. I was scared, I had some doubts, but I believed that I was a person who could do those things and so I did.

From an outside perspective my adventures may seem grand, but I have assumed an identity as hiker, runner and backpacker, so completing goals within that identity is more comfortable.

What is very uncomfortable to me, and something I’ve committed to working on this year, is pushing the boundaries of my identity. I consider myself athletic, outdoorsy, creative, introverted and empathetic. I don’t consider myself particularly outgoing, competitive, coordinated or adaptable.

I will hike solo for 31 days, but I won’t play a backyard game of whiffle ball. I will run up a 14’000” mountain, but I won’t strike up a conversation with a stranger. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that I let fear hold me back. Fear of failure, embarrassment or criticism.

Of course I have plenty of outdoorsy, athletic and creative adventures planned for the year, but added to the mix are adventures that kick me right out of my comfort zone. Adventures that may seem tame by comparison, but feel out of reach for me.

It’s not so much about what I’ll need to do, it’s about who I’ll have to become and believe myself to be.

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1 Comment

Sarah Brethouwer
Sarah Brethouwer
Mar 31, 2022

This hits right at home! The identity of who I know I am and have always been but kept hidden in a way due to fear or what society says I should be…she’s coming out and being her true self slowly but it’s a constant struggle.

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