Life isn't a BuzzFeed quiz
Our quest for self-identification
Thanks to BuzzFeed, I now know more about myself than I ever wanted to.
I know which Olsen twin I would be, which “Gilmore Girls” character I would date, even which 19th century writer most accurately matches my personality. Every time I sign onto Facebook, my news feed is littered with quizzes and articles that are supposed to help me learn more about myself. Which state should I live in? Is my dog my best friend?
Our generation is extremely self-obsessed — anyone with a Twitter or Instagram account can see that. Our fixation on classifications leads us to think someone else can tell us who we are or what we should be.
This may be a product of constant stimulation from our everyday environment. With so many avenues providing information, it can be hard to discern what you know for sure or where you stand in the midst of it all.
I think that’s why we are so attracted to these constructed questionnaires. We want something contained and easy, a step-by-step process that will clearly delineate who we are or give us something we can associate with.
Will knowing which faction from “Divergent” I belong to really help me figure out what I should be doing with my life? No. But for the minute I was taking the quiz, it gave me a fleeting moment of certainty, a moment of introspection that afforded me a sense of connection or belonging to something bigger than myself, even if it was just a brief, “Huh, that’s so right! I totally would be Amnity.”
This is also why people like horoscopes so much — they provide a list of personality traits and a set of predictions, quelling fears or doubts about the future. In a constantly changing world where the everyday can be unpredictable and uncertain, it’s helpful to feel like something is definite, even if it is unpleasant.
Trust me, I wish life were as easy as finding out which “Sex and the City” character I’d be. If only knowing whether I am a Carrie or a Miranda could unveil some deeper hidden truth about who I am, or what I should do with my life.
Alas, life is not a BuzzFeed article. I can’t click my way to a clear answer or retake it when I get a response I don’t like. I won’t find answers on a website or in the back of a magazine.
As much as it stresses me out to say this, I don’t think there is any clear-cut way for me to find everything out at once. I’ll just have to wait and see.
Mimi’s column runs biweekly Wednesdays. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.