Live Between The Lines: Why Does Gen-Y Feel The Need To Define Itself?

by Arohie Chopra

In an effort to learn more about me, people often ask questions that force me to label myself. But why does it matter if I’m a girly-girl or a tomboy? The answers never provide true depth regarding who I actually am.

As complex creatures, we’re only limiting ourselves by living within binding definitions of our identities that truly don’t reflect who we actually are.

1. We all jive to different vibes

While defining a person may help other people trust the person faster (as limits and definitions appeal to our levels of comfort), it is by nature, limiting in nature. Once someone is (falsely) labeled, the person is categorized forever. Once the suspense is gone, we can be at ease.

When people are classified into different groups, it helps us identify who belongs where. We befriend and assimilate with our own. It's like high school forever. We become characterless, colorless and spiritless. But, hey, at least we’re comfortable!

But I don't want to only hang out with people who have the same mindset and opinions as I do. Similar to the way we grow tired of a song after listening to it on repeat, it’s likely that we’ll grow tired of mingling with like-minded clones of ourselves. What ever happened to “opposites attract”?

2. We shouldn't limit our capabilities.

I was recently tutoring a high school student in math who, during our first session, cringed about how awful she is at arithmetic given how good she is at English. I was bewildered, as I couldn’t understand what one skill had to do with an unrelated deficiency. When I asked her what she meant, she explained that she believed it impossible to be good at both sciences and arts. She restricted her abilities before she gave herself the opportunity to try. She instilled a notion of failure within herself, and as a result, lost any sense of confidence in her potential.

3. Never stop changing.

In the first grade, every student had to announce his or her favorite colors. The popular answers were blue and pink (for boys and girls, respectively, predictably). I wanted to be different, so I said green. But truthfully, my favorite color changes daily, still.

The day we choose to stop learning, growing and changing our minds, is likely to be our last day. Seeking to define myself is a waste of time, because my thoughts are transient.

4. The rest is still unwritten.

My greatest fear is to become predictable. I'm still learning who I am and what I think, so how is it possible that anyone could pre-predict the things I haven’t decided?

Let's not associate with labels. Let's not fear the unknown. Let's be open-minded to the concept of going with the flow. We'll meet different people, travel far distances and learn throughout the journey.

The only things on which we should truly focus is respecting others and being especially kind to ourselves. We're constantly making resolutions that are more like punishments in effect. Give yourself that break you deserve and breathe every day with love. If you keep an open mind, things tend to fall into place.

Should you slip into a rut of predictability that reflects you adhering to some definition of yourself, introduce a plot twist.