As women, we tend to define ourselves by the roles we take in life: daughter, girlfriend, wife, mother, grandmother; but also peacekeeper, cook, housekeeper, chauffeur, tutor, and the list could go on. In addition, we compare ourselves to others who we know who also identify in those roles. These roles battle for our identity and change constantly.
Over the past year, I’ve added a new role to my life – the role of widow. The role has me struggling with my identity more than the role of divorcee did. One evening, I even told my adult children that I didn’t really know who I was anymore.
After my husband passed away, I lost my status as his wife, as his travel companion, and as his caregiver. My vision of widow is stereotypic, and it doesn’t define me. I made a promise to my late husband that I would continue to take life by the reins and live – not sit at home mourning his death and wasting away.
I also realized at that point that I was truly living on my own for the first time – ever.
One Christmas, I remember going over to my grandmother’s house with my mother to help bake cookies. Grandma was sitting at the dining room table opening Christmas cards and reading the enclosed letters.
After I hugged her, she put the card and letter back in the envelope and looked at me. “Why can’t you be more like your cousin?”
I wish I could have said to her what I thought. I’m not her; I’m me. Why would I want to be just like any of my cousins? But I didn’t say it.
I’ve heard the same thing over the years from other teachers: “I wish Paul was like his brother Jim.”
Even the media tells us we can be just like the product’s spokesperson.
No! Thank you. I’d rather not.
Be the Best You
No matter what your age
– be yourself. You’ll find it is easier to be yourself than it is trying to be someone else. Being someone else is the job of an actress, but it always feels good to shed the character once a production is over.
– be yourself. You don’t have to try to remember who it is you are copying.
– be yourself. And be the best version of yourself that you can be.
What about you?
Do you define yourself as an original? Or do you find yourself following trends? Please take a moment to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.
Until next time . . .
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