How I’m learning not to “be one thing”
I’ve always dreaded that singular ever important question: What do you do? I’ve NEVER wanted to say
“I’m a Doctor” or “I’m a scientist” or “I’m a grocer”. I have never wanted to limit myself and yet society seems to be conditioned to need to put us into categories. For judgment, perhaps? Or to simply put things into organization to know what to expect, or to start conversation? Either way, I learned early on in life it was not a good idea not to know the answer to this question. I also learned it was inherently wrong to answer back with things like “I’m a woman. Or “I’m a mother”, “I’m a wife” You could almost feel the category lowering mechanisms clicking in the other person’s brain as they assumed I didn’t DO anything else!
I also learned early on that if you can’t define yourself singularly like expected, be prepared to be labeled as “flighty” or incapable. It seems once labeled, it is very hard to get yourself out of that box! I have often found this interesting in working with my clients that suffer from the same affliction that it is seen as a bad thing to be a risk taker, to be creative, to seek your own happiness, and try new things. I can see now that those labels are simply made by people whose concepts are very strict on what is acceptable and trustworthy and what is not. Realizing this was eye-opening for me as it made me recognize that this was not the type of person I wanted to be, and so didn’t need to compare myself to someone who had such different values, that their devaluing of me really said nothing about me. I have since learned that they can have their own concepts, I can have mine and nobody else’s will define me.
I met an elderly man recently who really piqued my interest. He was a man of respect in the community and a pleasant gentleman. But what intrigued me was all he said. He had a woodshop, he was president of the community’s many boards, he was hired by the DNR to teach kids gun safety, he owned a tree farm, he started a school for disadvantaged youth, he owned a business in town.
And I remember thinking, “Why hasn’t he boxed himself in? How has he been able to escape that need for definition?”
It was also this informal education that made me believe all things are truly possible and that the only reason I had accepted being boxed in was because I was allowing myself to be judged by others and CARING about their determination.
I’ve always been curious and wanted to achieve a number of things. I know who I am and what I want to be. I love the fact that I am different, that I am not willing to go to the grave having lived the status quo. I love knowing that I don’t know what I will experience next but that I’m going to have no regrets for NOT having tried something.
The attitude I’ve adopted now rather than “who am I” or “what do I do” is “What’s next?” and have allowed myself the creativity and permission to try the next thing I want to experience.
Really when it comes down to it what’s the big deal? What do you have to lose? Be smart with the balance in your life and do what you can with what you have. So you rent a building for a year and try that craft store you’ve always wanted. Why not? What’s the worst that will happen? You’ll lost a year’s worth of rent? But you’ll have tried something you’ve always wanted. I’m an intelligent person and I know what my needs and the needs of my family are to survive and I honor those and continue to provide while I’m exploring the next thing like a fledgling bird until it has wings big enough to fly on it’s own. Some fly and some don’t but I don’t see myself a failure. I see myself excited for having lived. One unexpected lesson I have learned living this way is that sometimes by holding myself back I have no idea the ABUNDANCE I could be keeping from my family. I have learned that when I follow my heart, my desires, my passions, things work out in ways my mind couldn’t have before logically conceived.
When I approach life with a “what’s next” attitude, I don’t feel like I’m limiting myself and suddenly the world of possibility is open to me. Now, I’m in a creative space where anything can happen and frequently does. I’m just grateful for the idea that IT CAN!