I like to arrive late. Especially to my husband’s work parties. Everyone is already there, the lights are dimmed, the music is playing. People are gathered in small groups, chatting, laughing, well on their way to having a good buzz. As usual my husband gets pulled into one of the cliques and they’re talking shop. It’s easy for me to grab a drink, a nibble and stand in the corner and people watch.
If you get to a party too early, you’re confronted by the person who makes it their own personal mission to not let guests stand alone.
Greeting someone for the first time, this person resorts to the only conversation opener they know.
“So what do you do?”
And there it is. The question I have been asking myself everyday since I left my job a year ago. In an effort to redirect, I humour them.
“I take care of my husband. He’s a full-time job”. Chuckle, chuckle.
Only when you are repeatedly asked this question do you realize that you have been defining yourself your entire life by the actions and responsibilities that dominated your life at that particular moment.
“I’m a student.”
“I’m a mother.”
“I’m a…(insert career).”
For the first time in my life, I can define myself not by what I do, but what I am. So who am I? At first this sounds exhilarating. I get to define me. Then I realize, I have to define me. And if I don’t, I allow others to do it.
I understand now that in not answering that guest at the party directly, I have allowed myself to be defined as nothing. Could there be anything worse? I’m not sure. Could I stand the glazed over look in their eyes if I had said, “I’m a writer” or how about “I’m a blogger”? I’m sure that would have gotten rid of them pretty fast.
I’m still on the journey of discovery. It’s an ongoing process but I do know I love writing and I love my blog, but I am not confident in myself yet to define myself as a writer. I hope to one day.
Have you re-defined your life after 50?