Not Yet Fully Set

My friend Seth Clifford has written an articulate piece on how we become defined over time as humans.

We all have our own issues that we are facing that cause massive amounts of stress. Not all of us share them publicly. Some of us choose to eschew the issues instead of facing them.[1] Anticipating issues, enduring the stress, and returning to a state of stability make us who we are. The analogy Seth used in his post is perfect:

It’s like breaking a bone: it’ll set, it’ll heal, and you’ll go back to the way things were, but it won’t ever be exactly the same. … but there are small variations and flaws that weren’t there before.

The notion that we as human beings are flawed & broken is something that we as a society struggle with often. Both conventional and social media can paint pictures of the perfect life, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth: life can be rough and smooth, amazing and cruel, and/or any other set of dichotomies that come to mind. What causes you to struggle may cause others to thrive. Perseverance in the face of adversity can define you just as much as a life full of stress fractures. Once we have been broken, we work on healing; but – for better or worse – we aren’t the same.

I personally have at least some level of stress on a daily basis in my life. I constantly have people and projects to juggle, at both work and home. At times, I feel very broken, ill-equipped to handle the stress; I just want it to go away. I feel like I am a huge letdown to those around me, and feel like giving up. But I’m an adult[2], and I don’t have an option to give up. I have to remain confident and steadfast in the wake of the emotional collapse that stares me in the face. An important point:

At times like this, I try to remember that all those bones I’ve broken have made me the person I am today, and I’m (mostly) pretty satisfied with how I’ve “set”.

We must endure getting “broken bones” from time-to-time along the journey and hope that in the end, we’ll end up ok. We will heal, and that we can endure the next challenge. Perhaps now that we’ve broken a bone once, we know how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.[3] We might not be able to protect ourselves from other breaks, but we will be better equipped to handle the recognizable stresses in our lives.

I’m really thankful that Seth shared what he did; I’ve been thinking about the same thing for a bit now myself, but hadn’t yet shared how I felt. Sharing anything personal can be unnerving, but can also be immensely helpful to others; judging from the responses to his post, he’s not alone, which means neither am I. Having these conversations allows us all to grow, help ourselves, and help others.

Personally, I am slowly getting more self-aware, happier with where I’m headed and can look back at what I’ve endured with both humility and pride. I’m not yet fully set, but I can see the cast coming off soon; I look forward to when I can start down the path of rehabilitation towards the goal of healing. This is all just part of my journey in becoming more human.


  1. An important aside: you will occasionally find yourself needing some outside help. Talking about your stresses is a wonderful thing, whether it be with a close individual in your life or a professional. We aren’t in this life alone, and you shouldn’t endure it without having a support structure. There is zero shame in needing support to heal. If you feel like you cannot handle the stress, I urge you to reach out to someone you trust and get the appropriate help you need.  ↩
  2. really a big kid  ↩
  3. at least not the same way  ↩