There are people who don’t know who they are.
In attempt to find myself, I followed the White Rabbit and fell down an unusually large hole. Luckily, I landed somewhere near the Earth’s core unharmed and found myself as guest at a tea party, hosted by the Mad Hatter, March Hare and the Dormouse. Everyone was certainly mad and everything was extraordinarily curious.
If that story sounds familiar, it’s because a girl named Alice fell down the rabbit hole and into a place called Wonderland. I was there too, wearing 3D glasses.
There was one question in my head after viewing the newest version of “Alice in Wonderland,” released in theaters March 5. “Who are you?” The Blue Caterpillar asks Alice this question in every version of the film, and of course in the original book by Lewis Carroll.
To answer in Alice’s own words: “I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night? Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!”
So, who are you? Who were you thirteen years ago? Who will you be in another thirteen years?
Maybe you are a character from Wonderland: Maybe you are the White Rabbit, always busy and always late. Or maybe you are similar to the greedy Walrus, taking everything for yourself. Perhaps you see yourself more like Bill, the lizard, who is everyone’s servant. Or you could be similar to Caterpillar, who is wise and mellow.
Then again maybe you are more like the Cook, who throws everything within reach at her guests and insists everything needs “more pepper!” Maybe you are courteous, helpful and a little mysterious like the Cheshire Cat, or bluntly mad like the Hatter, Hare and the Dormouse. Of course, there are those who are nasty, brutal and loud like the Queen of Hearts and those who are a little dramatic and are always crying, like the Mock Turtle.
Or maybe you are Alice. The simple, yet complex Alice Kingsleigh who wanders about while trying to figure out who she is.
I know who I am, or at least I think I do. Actually, I tend to wander a little myself. Perhaps, I have lost my “muchness,” as the Mad Hatter would say.
Maybe I don’t know who I am completely, but I do know who I am not.
I am not the person who hated climbing 77 stairs to class everyday. I am not the person who forgot all the “Mad” people who called themselves Moundbuilders. And I am not the person who came on the college journey only to compromise dreams for reality.
The college experience, more specifically the one that starts with Builder Camp, helps shape who we are. If a graduating senior is the same as when they came in as a freshman, they may need to consider finding a rabbit hole and a new adventure. But for those who have learned, their time is now limited to only a few more weeks. After graduating May 9, the adventure will be over.
Some undergraduates will continue to graduate school. Some will start building their resumes while searching for the perfect job. Others will settle down, get married and start a family.
Then their wallet will grow, along with their children. Everything will be planned, like everything before them. Retirement will become the goal in life and the question, “who are you?” will have faded long ago.
I don’t see where I fit into this future. And I’m sure there are others like me. There are those who want a break from school, who do not want to sit in an office cubicle, nor marry when the right person has not come along.
Maybe I’m still looking through the eyes of Alice, watching everyone go their own way, while seeking my own path. I’m ok with that. The last thing I ever want to dream about is retiring in an over-sized house on an eroding beach. I’ll continue to wander and ask “who are you?” I will think of six impossible things every morning before breakfast and always have an adventure in mind.