Sunday, January 30, 2011

What Defines You?

by Kris Pitcher

I have struggled with this for a long time. It's more like a tug-of-war really. Sometimes I have a clear sense of what defines me and other times it seems to slip through my hands, leaving me with rope burns in my palms.

Many people, especially in Western society, define themselves by their job. I don't really like that method. Maybe because I've had what you call a series of careers...serial careers. Maybe it's because I've never been sure of what I wanted to be. Or maybe I'd just rather be something other than my job.

We tend to hang on to things, to moments, experiences which have over time defined us. Not always to our advantage. I can see us dragging our baggage down the street behind us...defining us. Except it's not a super whirly bag of today that turns 360 degrees on a dime, we're dragging that big, mustard yellow, big buckle suitcase of the '70s. The one with no wheels.

We can let all of those moments go. We're done with those now, and the baggage too. So, what defines us? It's been said that we're defined by what we do in our alone time. The things we do in our free time, and the person we are in our free time defines who we truly are. It that's true, who are you?

What I'm wondering is are we giving our best selves to our loved ones in our free time or have we used all that up at work? What's left at the end of the day, at the end of the week for ourselves and our families? Are we tired, stressed, crabby, distant, preoccupied, on the computer all weekend?

Defining self might be a matter of perspective. Thinking of the self you want to be, and being that person now. Not waiting for some magic or distant time or thing to happen until you become that person. If you want to be happier, be happier. Do the things that will make you happier right now, don't wait for them to happen to you. You make them happen...right now, today.

Remembering this perspective helps me keep a clear sense of self, of who I am. It helps me stay connected to what I want to do, and to where I'm headed with my goals. And it keeps my palms from getting burned. What are you doing in your alone time, in your free time that defines who you truly are?


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