The always wise Dr. Seuss once said, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
This funny little riddle is more than an entertaining tongue twister that happened to contain a moral lesson. It actually has a deeper meaning for children and adults alike.
The broadest meaning is simply everyone is their own person. This seems novice, right? It is on the surface, but there are many underlying and fundamental values that go along with being your own person.
Being an individual comes in two distinct and polar opposite parts.
First, there is the age of innocence that should linger with you all of your life.
As a young child, it is easy to be yourself because you are not bombarded by outside influences. Even if those influences are in your face, you don’t realize that they are choices you can make to change who you are.
Suddenly, in junior high or high school (or college for some), you become aware of those influences and realize that it is up to you to choose which influences you will allow to mold you and which ones you will let slide off your back.
A new meaning to being an individual becomes evident.
The second part of being your own person is constantly working on who exactly that person is.
You have to actively be aware of who you are and work to be that same person throughout all situations. If you are not completely in tune with who you are, you are going to be fickle and will blow with any change in the wind.
That wind is going to blow from all directions and at times it will blow hard. If you work at staying true to who you were before the wind blows, you can undergo the pressure and the hard times and not have to worry about how it is going to affect your character. Your character will come through untouched and you will be the same person.
So, after you have reached the age where you will have to always work to maintain a pure and constant character, you have to keep that up, but nevertheless, revert back to being childlike.
This makes me think of those rebellious teenage years that most of us went through. We were new to the concept that we can make our own choices and that we can choose our own paths for ourselves. So we venture down paths simply because we can and simply to stand out more than other 17 year olds. We can’t make those decisions based on the knowledge of becoming more individualized or with a conscious awareness of our differing features. Those choices are to be true to you and for no other reason.
American novelist Louis Kronenberger once wrote, “Individualism is rather like innocence; there must be something unconscious about it.”
You have to become like a child again and be unaware of the fact that you are becoming your own person.
Balancing this fine line is what makes “being you” hard work. You have to be aware of constantly being that same person in every single situation, but in the same breath you have to forget that you are becoming your own person.
Dr. Seuss started the quote by saying that today you are you. I believe that you will change over the natural course of a lifetime. However, change isn’t an instantaneous event. It instead spans over the course of years. So, you are who you are today until you go through the change tomorrow.
For example, if today you are a college senior and tomorrow brings your graduation, you are still a college student and not a graduate until tomorrow. Who you are and how you identify yourself doesn’t change today, it changes tomorrow – which will then be today and another tomorrow will then loom on the horizon.
The cycle is never-ending and you can’t be today who you will be tomorrow. It is impossible simply because tomorrow hasn’t happened yet. You might not exactly change from day to day, but you cannot go through the change before what changes you has happened. How’s that for a funny little riddle?
7 billion people live on this earth and every single one of us is different. Not one two people have the exact same laugh. Some people snort, some cackle, some people laugh silently, and we all have different combinations of the “types” of laughs. Laughs are just a physical trait, but there are so many different aspects of a person that makes them who they are: Their humor. Their work ethic. Their way of thinking. Just to name a few.
There is an immeasurable and unfathomable amount of different pieces that makes a human. So, we are all naturally individualized. However, there will come a time when everyone is faced with decisions and tough winds that will force them to work on their character so it doesn’t blow like dust in the wind. While you are working on who you are, you also have to be toeing the line so that you are unaware of what truly makes you different from other people.
It’s not easy, but I believe that it is highly rewarding to approach your individualism with these two attitudes coexisting with one another.