Happy New Year, my lovely people!
This is a time of reflection for many, as a fresh new calendar year begins we get to look at the 12 months of possibilities that lie ahead. Of course, my mind has been racing leading up to 2018. There are going to be so many changes, and likely lots of challenges as Chad an I embark on a new chapter. But there’s one thing that has been weighing heavy on this heart of mine: personal identity.
Who am I? How did I get here? How do I get to where I want to be? Who do I want to be?
If this is ringing true for you, read on. And if you have any suggestions, please do share!
I’m not just anything.
Have you ever felt that your entire identity is wrapped up in one single aspect of your being or your life? Maybe you feel like you’re just a mom, or just your job, or just your degree. Or do you feel like you’re just another person among the billions here on earth.
I’ve been feeling like this a lot lately. Consumed with a major identity crisis, I have spun into quite the depression. Recently, I was told that I was “just an admin.” (link is to an article about how this can actually be a positive thing).
Living in a world where your worth as a human being seems synonymous with your job title (and accompanying pay cheque), this statement had me questioning everything. If I am just an admin after almost a decade of trying to navigate the corporate world, what the hell am I doing wrong? Is this really all I am?
I internalized all of this. Constantly, my mind was attacking me with disparaging commentary: “Wow, this is all that you are after working so hard? You’re doomed. This is all you’re going to ever be. How did you end up being such a loser?”
I forgot that life is not defined by a title – or by other people’s opinions. It is not defined by gender, education, or rank in the corporate hierarchy. We are all more than this. I’m still trying to convince myself of this and have to remind myself on the daily (sometimes hourly). But I will keep repeating it until I believe it.
So, who am I?
Sure, maybe I am “just an admin,” but what else is there about me that makes me special?
I have a compassionate heart that cares deeply for those in my life. I am a listening ear and a flowing spring of knowledge when someone needs advice or help. My talents are varied: I am a relationship builder, spreadsheet wrangler, policy writer and a process planner. I am a leader.
More importantly, I am a friend, a daughter, a wife- and mother-to-be. I am an advocate for creating a better life for all and for being an engaged community member. I am creative. I am a writer. I am the owner of my past and the builder of a bright future.
I am not just anything; I am everything that makes me, well, me. And that is great.
How did I get here?
Society does its best to strongly dictate/influence the path that we follow. I, like many, have been conditioned to want a particular dream. Get an education. Become someone important. Make lots of money and buy lots of stuff.
After chasing this dream from youth, through adolescence, and straight into my 30s, it’s no surprise that I’m having an identity crisis. I am not where I thought I would be. Not in this twisted game of life that I have been chasing, nor in the life that I really want.
I have always wanted to be a mother. Now, the finish line is right there – with pink and blue balloons, yellow streamers, and diapers and bottles galore. That line is also a starting line: a new life will begin in just a few months, and I am filled with uncertainty, fear, and anticipation. How do I want to raise my children? Am I a living example of how I would like to see them navigate life and self-discovery? If I haven’t lived a life true to myself, how am I going to teach a little human to?
Well, I have loads of work to do as it relates to neuroplasticity (link to “It’s All In Your Head: How to Take Advantage of Neuroplasticity”). I have to constantly remind myself of all the unique things that make me who I am and interrupt that negative chatter that has been so persistent.
It is going to be so important to learn to define who I am without succumbing to the opinions of others. God knows that once I’m a mother, I am going to be faced with more strong opinions, advice and judgement from anybody and everybody. I must recognize that I have the power to be whoever I want and make choices that I feel are right. I do not have to ask permission or obtain approval from anyone.
Finally, my emotions are mine and mine alone: I can choose to be happy and to focus on positive things, just as much as I have been focusing on stress, sadness, and defeat this past little while. This is my power and these things are in my control. It is my responsibility to change the thought pattern.
Who do I want to be?
It’s a good question, and one that I think everyone needs to come back to often throughout there lives. Am I the person that I want to be? Am I making the impact that I want to and contributing to the world in a way that makes me feel successful?
I want to be a fantastic mother. I want to continue to help people in any way that I can. I want to be a supportive partner. I want to continue to learn and grow. And I want to keep sharing my story.
I know that the phrase “New Year, New You” often gets thrown around – usually on gym and diet commercials, but this year it rings true for me. In a few months, my title will change – no longer just an admin, but a mother. This is a pivotal time in my life, and I can’t even begin to comprehend the impact this is going to make on me.
As I’m struggling to find who I am, I pray that you are navigating your own journey well. And keep reminding yourself that it is exactly that: a journey. And you’re doing the best you can.
Much love in 2018 and beyond,