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Percieved Identity vs. Real Life

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” 

—Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

This is one of those quotes that sticks in the back of your brain, rolling around and making its presence known every now and then. 

So many of us view ourselves in a certain way. We’ve carved out an identity and, we think, a lifestyle that reflects that identity. 

But what do our day-to-day choices, priorities, and time expenditures truly reflect about that identity? 

An example: We know someone who always described herself as a voracious reader. She listed reading as a top hobby and favorite pastime. But life gets busy. And when she actually sat down to look at how many books she’d read in the past several years, the total was abysmal.  

Her solution? She abandoned a long-held preference for physical books and started checking out audiobooks through her library, using an app. Now she “reads” up to 25 books per month. Double-speed. 

What’s the gap between your perceived identity and your day-to-day choices? 

Perhaps you see yourself as an avid learner but you haven’t actually taken a course since college.  

Perhaps you see yourself as a social butterfly but you haven’t made any new friends in ages.  

Perhaps you see yourself as highly cultured but you attend cultural events once in a blue moon. 

Perhaps you see yourself as an athlete but you haven’t picked up a tennis racket since John MacEnroe retired. 

You get the idea. 

Your gap might not be quite so concrete. Maybe it’s simply about the amount of time you devote to pursuits outside of work. 

Whatever it is, we all have a gap. Many of us have a lot of gaps. Mind the gap. Close the gap. It’s never too late.