The Guidebook of Hide and Seek

By Ioulia Stamatopoulou. Ioulia is from Athens, Greece. Please read her article and leave thoughts and comments below.

”What do you want to become when you grow up?” is the question that follows you in every aspect of your life. At the age of innocence, the age of hide and seek the answer is quick and spontaneous, but what happens when you become older?

The answer comes slower and requires more thought than before, because now it matters. It has a sense of stability that can’t be taken lightly. Actually, it shapes and defines your future. But if the answer changes while this future has already been planned, what happens then?

”You just have to know who you are”, a lot of people would say. Based on this logic, if you don’t know who you are, you can’t have dreams or aspirations. You are a nobody that has no place in society or someone you can count on. Because, all of these ”privileges” are for people that from an early age know themselves and fit into one of the ”society approved” categories.

Think for a moment: Why do individuals have to fit into categories? They are not soulless objects that the moment their creation came to an end, they had to compromise with one form. A form that someone else decided they will have. No, they are living creatures, subjects to the laws of evolution and gifted with free will.

How then do we expect from these beings to never change, to always have the same needs? Especially in a world that always changes. This demand is at least foolish if not hypocritical and carries a heavy dose of irony. Mankind since the begging of time fought for a better world, being so unforgiving of people that try to apply that on themselves seems unfathomable.

Even Physics has proven that we live in an imperfect world. For us to believe in our own perfection is an illusion. We can accept our imperfect state, though, and simultaneously try to reach its fullest potential. Our potential is something personal for each one of us and its limits shouldn’t be defined by others and their opinions or views about us. At the end of the day, we are the ones that we truly know ourselves end its deepest secrets. Everyone else that revolves us or is part of our lives just sees things that we subconsciously know, but are difficult or we don’t want to admit.

Also, our reluctance to admit things to ourselves is a strong indicator that we grasp and value the concept of responsibility. According to which, every wrong action comes with consequences that we should be prepared to accept when we choose the wrong path. So, it seems unfair when we don’t live our lives based on our mistakes.

The worst though is when our categorization defines the amount and type of the mistakes we are entitled to make. There shouldn’t be a limit to our mistakes, right? By saying that we know ourselves and placing them into a category though, we limit them. And this is without a doubt the worst thing we could do to them.

After all these, imagine that place, where belonging to one category gives specific characteristics to your bad choices. Everyone would have the same bad choices, the same point of view, and the same lives. I can’t imagine myself living in a place so devoid of different emotions and so full of identical people and similar stories. A world lacking diversity is a boring world that holds no interest to me.

Furthermore, if there was no mystery about the world we live in and we knew everything from the start the joy of learning and exploring new things would be something that we wouldn’t have the chance to experience. The same thing happens when we try to find an exact definition of what comprises us. If we knew from the moment of birth who we are and what makes us happy then what is the purpose of it? Sometimes it is all about what you do in order to reach your goal, and not about the goal itself.

Personally, I would like to think of life as a game of hide and seek in which we are the only protagonist. What we have to find is nothing more than the experiences that shape the fundamental elements of our character. The time we have to make our strategy is limited like the time we have in most cases in order to make decisions. Our strategy is also defined by external factors and can easily modify our behavior and our views.

That is the price of being a living creature, situations change, your needs, and they change you, so you have to adapt if you want to survive, if you want to continue this game. Being set in your ways will not help and because the game is not perfectly designed, thinking that you are perfect just the way you are will be a disadvantage. Because, you automatically lose the ability to clearly evaluate a situation. You become biased and you only estimate a handful of mistakes that can happen. Others can’t illuminate your way, because you have to make a path that suits your needs, needs that only you know. Moreover, if they gave you guidelines or told you from the beginning what awaits you there, you wouldn’t bother yourself with seeking, and seeking is all that matters in the game of life.

I choose to follow all these instructions by recreating myself and the path I want to follow each day. I wouldn’t say to you to follow them step by step, but I would advise you to take inspiration from them and make your own like I did. I would be happy with one simple thing: If you gave to yourself the privilege to explore its limits each day and not only one day per year. This will only happen when you forgive yourself for not knowing who you are.


‘’Create your own guidebook of hide and seek, your own guidebook of life’’ I. J

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