Who Am I?

I was recently asked to provide a few lines about myself for a biography, and I was completely stumped. When you meet someone new, what’s the first thing they generally ask, as they try to break the ice? So, what do you do? And if you do nothing, does that mean you are nothing?
I’ve been thinking about this concept a lot lately. I recently read a lovely book, called The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer. It originally caught my attention because it’s about a group of people who meet as talented teens, at an arts camp. Their friendship spans decades, but as some of them go on to great fame and fortune, while others lead a more grounded existence, the question of self-identity, potential, lost and achieved, and how those ideas affect relationships all come into play.
It was easy to relate to the characters in the book, especially at the precocious teen level. I also grew up with an extremely talented and gifted set of friends, and many of those people are still close friends today. Watching some of these friends achieve their dreams, while others have floundered, and still others have course corrected and found new roads to travel down, all had me wondering what really makes for a happy life. I don’t think it’s fame and fortune, the people who I see that achieve these things don’t seem particularly happier than anyone else. In fact, I lost one of the people closest to me when they finally achieved these things. Not because I could no longer relate to them, but because their values had changed so dearly, they could no longer relate to me.
I made a mistake in my life, the mistake of defining my worth with my work. While I’ve certainly never been a mega success, I was proud of what I had achieved career wise. I was able to support myself quite comfortably and completely independently. I had bought my first house while still in my thirties; I had a healthy retirement income well under way. I was a leader, a boss, a manager, a director. I was proud of my accomplishments, while always remaining grateful for the people and opportunities that brought me to them.
And now, now, I am none of those things. I’m also not a wife, a partner or a mother, additional definitions that shape so many of those close to me. I honestly don’t know what I am anymore, but I know it’s wrong and backwards to think I won’t have that answer until I find my next job. I have to figure this out, and be more than what my business card tells me I am.
Who am I? I’m a daughter, a sister, a friend. What do I do? I live; I love my friends and family. Fiercely, I protect those I care about. I keep a roof over my head by any means. I think, I dream, I hope. Sometimes I cry bitter tears of fear or sorrow. Far more often, I laugh. I worry, far too much. I sing, I dance, I write. I think, I dream, I hope. I try. And I never stop trying.
Will that work for my biography? Probably not. Does it tell you who I am? Maybe, a little. This isn’t one of those weeks where I have things wrapped up neatly in a bow. It took me a lifetime to get to this place in the road, until I too saw a need to course correct and find a new road to travel. And I don’t have a map, and I don’t know where it’s all going to lead. I’m just going to keep trying, and keep going, and hopefully, keep growing, until I get there. So if you see me on the way, please don’t ask me what I do. Just tell me you’re happy to see me.
The end, for now


One response

  1. I understand this. And, I’ve discovered that while the path may be rocky and undefined, each curve leads to further self-discovery and growth. Just keep going and I’ll be happy to see you there.

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