March 29, 2013

Defining Yourself

In my last job, I had the opportunity to go to conferences, classes and functions on a fairly steady basis.  On Tuesday, I went to my first industry related function for my new job.  I'm naturally a shy person...but my last job had me in front of new people ALL the time.  That I fell out of that "muscle memory" so to speak made me surprised a bit about how nervous I got.

To make matters worse, one of my co-workers was one of the two speakers for the night and he made the group go through the exercise of sharing three things about ourselves that are non-work related.

Sounds simple and innocuous, right?  Don't ask me how or why...but it made me start thinking about how people define themselves.  About how I define myself. 

I shared that:
  • I'm on the board of directors of a dachshund rescue.
  • I'm a voracious reader
  • That I love to travel and always have my passport with me

I listened intently as people shared about themselves. After all, if you can find something in common - it gives you an opening to start a conversation.  The labels that were most utilized were: husband/wife and mother/father. 

I felt a little like a failure.  I'm neither a wife or mother.  Trust me - I wish I was both! (If you happen to see my Mr. Right...send him my way!  I've been waiting a LONG time.)  If you had asked me at 20 where I'd be in 2013, wife and mother would be on that list. If I had found the right guy, I would have happily tied the knot well over a decade ago.

Heck, if you had asked my high school or college friends where I'd be - almost all of them would predict that I'd be a wife and mom.  I was the one that helped them through relationship break-ups, make-ups and the occasional pregnancy test; didn't go through a "party" phase and played matchmaker for a number of people.

I guess I need to change my earlier statement.  I feel like a huge failure.  But it also make me curious how you define yourself.  What are your most important life titles?


*No, I'm not looking for pity.  Please just accept this as one of the few times that I'm sharing about where I feel lacking in life.*


  1. Oh, Cole, I know exactly what you mean because I feel the same way. Part of me kind of always expected to stay single, but I've always wanted to get married and have babies. Now I'm 36 and I know that's not too late, but it really is starting to feel like time's running out.

    To answer your question, though, I mostly identify myself as a writer. For some reason, my relationship to others doesn't usually come up as part of my identity. What an interesting realization.

  2. Never feel like a failure if you can't define yourself as a wife and mother! Look what you are accomplishing! Travel, dachshund rescue, you should be very proud of yourself. Dolly's Mom

  3. I always find this such a hard question to answer. I don't think because you don't have something defines you either. I think our definition changes over time as well. I sometimes feel odd because as long as we've been married and my age, most would assume we have kids which we don't yet. I feel like it puts us in a weird group. Oh well.

  4. You're not a failure!

    I identify myself as a photographer, dog mom and blogger. Primarily photographer. I'm privy to seeing things so many other people pass by, and I get to capture some moments that can never be reenacted, as corny as it sounds.


  5. You definitely not a failure... I'd probably describe myself as a dogmom, a cancer survivor, and volunteer. I'm not a wife or mother either. One day being a wife I can see... but I don't ever plan to be a mother! I'll be 25 this year and while I own a house and a car... I'm "behind" on everything else compared to my friends!

  6. What a hard question.... I definitely would say wife, but sister and daughter are so high on my list as well. And puppy mama.... But that's a hard question to deal with! I know you will find Mr. Right soon!

  7. You are crazy in the head if you ever think you're a failure!! You have so many other great things going for you right now and I know the rest will fall into place for you when it's the right time. I think because you have such a big heart, you're a great friend and have such a heart for animals makes you the furthest thing from a failure!! xoxo

  8. I think your definitions sound pretty awesome myself! But then, I'm not a wife or mother either. I was a bit down recently after attending a wedding and being the only single person there besides my grandmother, and it hit me, just because all these people are married and/or parents does not mean they are HAPPY.


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