When I was younger and anyone asked me who I wanted to be, I had a list. I wanted to be a child psychologist, a chef, a baker, a seamstress, a teacher, a wife, mother of exactly three children (no more, no less), a dog owner, a member of my church choir, a home-owner, a gardener, a writer, a hairstylist, and a librarian. Yes … I was going to do it all!
Today on my birthday, if you ask me that question, the answer will be very different. Age, experience and some wisdom has taught me that I can’t do everything, but I can do something. It has also taught me that who I am on the inside and how I manifest what’s on my inside, is as necessary for my growth as accomplishing things I want to do. Who I want to be is just as important as what I do!
In the last couple of months, my heart and mind have been challenged even more with regards to “being” as opposed to “doing”. It was even more challenged when I spoke to my oldest friend on her birthday (one month ago) and she told me that she wasn’t celebrating her birthday this year. When I asked why, her response was that she had nothing to celebrate because she was turning 42 and was childless and single. I didn’t know what to do with that so I just listened, then I prayed for her.
As I thought about our lives some more, I realized that I too haven’t accomplished most of the things on my childhood list, but that’s okay. In my early twenties and even early thirties, I just knew I was going to be the next Claire Huxtable.
Life proved me wrong about that, and that’s okay! As much as I empathized with my friend’s feelings of inadequacy, I refuse to throw in the towel. My life is not only defined by who I can be professionally or as someone’s mother or as someone’s wife. It is also defined by who I am as a woman, as an individual, as a human being in the global environment, as a sister, a daughter, a niece, a cousin, an “aunty”, a friend, a child of God, a crafter, a learner, a liver of life. It is defined by who I am when no-one is watching. And I want it to be GOOD!!!! I want more joy than regrets, but guess what? Much of that definition depends on me and my outlook.
So today if you ask me “who do you want to be?” my answer will be this:
I want to be able to see the good even in difficult times,
I want to be able to see the good in others, even when they’re working my last nerve,
I want to be firm when needed but not overly aggressive,
I want to be assertive when I need to be but never overbearing and pushy,
I want to exemplify my faith in ways I haven’t before,
I want to be a woman of character,
I want to live simply, modestly and humbly before my God,
I want to love the people in my life deeply, compassionately and passionately,
I want to face the character “weeds” I have squarely in the face and actively work at getting rid of them,
I want to passionately live this life … despite the lows,
I want to live life passionately even when its course is charted in places unknown and unplanned by me,
I want to be principled and disciplined but never judgmental,
I want to be genuine and exude warmth,
I want to be kind and gracious,
I want to be forgiving to myself, admit when I make a mistake, learn from it, leave self-deprecation behind then move on.
I want to be that foxy “ole” lady. Styling with my cane, not allowing age to determine what I can or can’t do,
I want to live a life that does not embody striving for perfection but striving for authenticity, and
I want to “be” not just “do”.
Woke up this morning with the song in this ad on my mind. Just imagine me throwing myself all over my apt like the woman in jeans.
There’s nothing different about the day itself so far but I feel different. It’s really good to be alive! I feel renewed. I feel joyful. I feel ready for change. Today I’m ready to be!
Today I’m one year older, and I’m loving it!!!