When I was a kid, I thought that once you got to be an adult you became the person you’d be the rest of your life, no matter how long you lived.
And what I’ve discovered is that I couldn’t have been MORE wrong!
I wrote in this blog back in the spring that I felt I was completing a seven-year cycle, one of failure and fear. I’d experienced two business failures (from a personal perspective) and a cancer journey – situations that tested me and helped (or forced!) me to grow.
And just lately I’ve realized that if you took some ordinary ways of self-identification and applied them to who I was and who I am, you’d see a big change, a transformation.
I was a person who totally identified herself as a high school teacher – because she loved teenagers – and a dog person.
And now I am someone who doesn’t enjoy teenagers in groups (one or two at a time are okay) but who prefers younger, pre-teen kids – and who now is a cat person.
When I look at myself now compared with myself several years ago, I see a new person in many ways.
And that can be disconcerting.
You see, I thought that who I was was pretty stable.
But what I’ve found is that who I am is fluid. That life events can change me, that aging can change me, that many elements around and within can change me.
I don’t know that I was prepared for this.
Because I wonder . . . who am I if I’m not who I was?
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I had to take a break after writing the above.
Because I had no answer.
I mowed the front yard, walking and sometimes pushing uphill behind my self-propelled mower. And I thought about being a dog or cat person, a person who loves teenagers or younger kids.
And I realized that it has to do with caring about what others think, about trying please people.
Dogs love you and want you to like them. Cats don’t care most of the time whether you like them or not.
Teenagers want you to like them. They want to belong. Even if they act in the opposite way – that’s the root: “Love me. Let me be a part of your group.”
Younger kids don’t care about that as much. They have more innocence and wonder. They figure you might like them no matter what. And they like you.
I’m becoming more like a cat.
And more like a kid.
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I’ve not written in the past month because I’ve been pondering the Who am I? question.
And I’ve come upon the four-year anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis. And I have a six-month checkup with my surgeon on Tuesday. And tomorrow I see a dermatologist about a possible cancerous spot on my arm.
Thinking about cancer and illness and death provoke anxiety in me. And questions about who I am. And who I am meant to be.
Answers I don’t have right now.
But I do have gratitude for the cool, fallish weather of the past two days. And for the fact that now I have the energy to mow my yard. And that I have so many people who are praying for me and sending good vibes for my doc visits.
I may not know who I am now, but I do know that I love the fallish weather – and my friends and family and cats and young kids.
And for right now, this moment, that is enough.
Because who knows what tomorrow will bring?
But right now, I’m pretty happy, pretty grateful.
And I’m a cat person. Who loves kids, even middle-schoolers!
And who knows that whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll ultimately be okay.
To be continued. . . . .