Choosing your Adult Self

A few months ago I began writing this blog. At the time, I had a vague idea that writing was something that I enjoyed. Immediately after publishing my first post, I was surprised at how satisfied and empowered I felt. The idea of publishing is something that I have discussed in my English Education classes. Making cover art, binding ones work together in a greater portfolio, posting it on the walls (or as a parent, on the refrigerator or even framed), or publishing in a class/school publication is a great way for students to feel that their work has greater meaning outside of the class/report card. It can lead to empowerment, and greater self motivation.

The awesome thing about this is that publishing this blog has done just that for me. I do get a thrill from seeing how many people have viewed our blog, and especially from seeing representatives from different countries (shout out to Nessa, and my friends in Japan- I can’t guess who it is, but I hope it is Yumiko, or Masanori Hashimoto- my host parents whom I love and think fondly of often). Amazingly, clicking on the button that says, “Publish Post” has been enough of a closing remark to make me feel satisfied that I have completed something  that has lived up to my standards.

I know that there is a lot that could be improved, but this is just a beginning with an unknown end. If I had been more vigilant about updating, you would have noticed a big change in the way I view life. The blog is a part of it, but I have gone through a low point, and grown steadily in my personal friendships, and the way I view myself.

Yesterday, my darling sister, Marjorie, excitedly recounted to me the ways that she is growing. I laughed, but she misinterpreted my response (understandably) as an unappreciative older sister kind of poking fun. In honesty, I laughed because we share the same enthusiasm and amazement. I discovered this vlog today, and it explains a subsection of the aspects of my life that I have been contemplating lately. (Bonus: it is by John Green, a phenomenal (read: PHENOMENAL) young adult author.)

Meanwhile, my friend Nate loaned me a book by Henri J.M. Nouwen called, “With Open Hands.” (another phenom-bomb suggestion). While I have only read one chapter so far, I am already committed to buying my own copy and re-reading. It is beautiful and universal– the kind of information that must settle in, and then refreshed over the years. In the Foreword, Nouwen explains how the book came to be. He says of his personal thoughts and experiences:

But what does this have to do with anyone else? Aren’t my own experiences so personal that they might just as well remain hidden? Or could it be that what is most personal for me, what rings true to the depths of my being, also has meaning for others? Ultimately, I believe that what is most personal is also the most universal. To arrive at this point, however, friends are necessary, for they are the ones who help you distinguish between superficial sensations and deep human experiences. (1975, p.7)

This quote resonates with me because like Marjorie, and Nouwen, I have found that the thing that most excites me, is in fact, universal. I recently learned that I, as an adult, can choose who I want to be, and in fact, will continue growing as an individual! Zowie!! It hit me like a hot air balloon, and I am transported into the stratosphere. It is so delightfully clear in this moment. In this time of transition- post college, post wedding, pre-backpacking through France with my partner, pre-“settling” in Missouri- I can choose who I want to be at each stage, and I will continue to learn about myself, and with intention, to grow into the person I want to be. I am thrilled.

So far I have learned about myself: what I need from friendships, and what I am best at sharing, that I love learning, and I love beauty. I have a desire to create something that will improve peoples lives. I am learning what I want as a future dog-owner, and who I am as an adult-child of my parents, as well as how I fit in to my new family-new parents, and new siblings. All these things allow me to feel proud of the decisions I make, because I know they fit in to what I believe. Perhaps most astoundingly, I am learning through this self recognition, how to love myself.

I would be incredibly honored if you, dear reader, would share with me what you have learned about yourself lately- likes, dislikes, interests, passions, or apathies.

Comment on this post, or in a facebook message, or to emilie.maierhofer (at)


3 responses to “Choosing your Adult Self

  1. I think what is univseral is also the most intimate. I was once in a Nature Writing class and our professor said ¨the more detailed and intimate you write, the more you connect with your reader¨. It has stuck with me. I appreciate your honesty and openness Emilie, becuase I have come across a similar reflection recently. It is: when we allow ourselves to share with others what is the most personal, intimate and sacred to us, we open a door to access the universal stream of energy, which ultimately unites us (us meaning, the earth, the plants, the animals, human beings), also known as Qi.
    I have found myself enveloped in moments where the energy stream sort of manifests itself. Often it happens when I connect with a person, stranger or beloved one during an intimate conversation where I find myself not just listening with my ears, but with my complete heart and being. It sometimes catches me off gaurd, and I come out and realize de nuevo our surroundings and that time has passed.

    It seems that each time, I know the connection better and I actually get a physical sensation of fluttering and excitement and a beaming in my chest. The first few times, I felt this, I was scared and not sure what it was, but with time, I am growing to learn and understand my own ¨Ser¨ (¨being¨).

    I got that feeling when I read your reflection Emilie. So thank you. Thank you for sharing. I didn´t expect to for my heart to grow while sitting on the computer in cyber room in the small town of Pedernales, Ecuador. I get to ride it all the way home.

    I love you cousin!

    • Wow Laura! I feel so pleased that we were able to make this connection– and through the computer. I often feel that technology takes us farther apart from each other (one of the reasons that I quit Facebook). But you have proven to me that it is possible to have the intimate connection even in a public sphere of the internet. Thank you! I hope that we can visit in the short time between your arrival in the U.S. and our departure

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