Who am I? At first glance, it’s a simple looking question and seems equally simple to answer. Most often, I’ll start answering this question by listing off things about myself – my age, what I do for a living, how many children I have, and so on. But do those things truly define who I am? What about my hobbies, interests and personality? Once I started thinking about this ‘simple’ question a little more, I quickly realized, it’s a lot more complicated than I thought – and I found it to be a difficult one to answer.
See, who I am can also depend on where I am, what I’m doing, who I’m with, among other things. Who I am is always changing in some ways. Some people will never see certain sides of me, but each of the many sides of my character make up who I am. In some situations, and with certain people, I’m totally outgoing, but pair me up with different people and I’m shy as a mouse. Those people who’ve only seen my shy side would never believe that ‘who I am’ is someone who can belt out Miley Cyrus’ ‘Party In the U.S.A’ at Saturday night karaoke like no one’s business!
But there are also, I believe, the fundamental things in our character that truly define us that will never change, no matter how old we get, or who we’re with. I am someone who believes that everyone should live their lives – as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else – doing whatever makes them happy. I’ve never, and will never, push my own personal beliefs on anyone. And, even when I don’t see eye-to-eye with someone else on a topic, I realize that it’s not my place to impose what I believe in their life.
So maybe that’s who I am? But that can’t be it, right? There’s got to be more to me than just my ‘ability’ to leave other people alone, doesn’t there?
In reality, it’s a complex question to answer. And, I could answer as truthfully and thoroughly as I possibly could today, but by tomorrow, that answer could be totally different. I’ve heard so many stories of individuals who ‘became different people’ after a life-altering event – birth of a child, a loved one dying or a close-call for themselves. Experience can change everything, and often does. I know for myself, I’m not the same person I was when I was a teenager, or even in my 20’s or 30’s – not in every single way, at least!
Although we often feel like who we are is largely ‘decided’ and defined by others and how they view us, we are the only person who is with ourselves at every moment of our lives from when we’re born to our death. I am the only person experiencing this completely unique perspective of being me. It’s also been said before that who you are when no one is watching will truly define who you are as a person. So, it’s really up to each person to recognize who they are when there are no eyes on them, and create their own definition.
Who I am is an always-changing, learning and evolving person. I’m willing to learn from my experiences, apply them to my life and hope that they make me a better person. And, if I can help do the same in someone else’s life, that just adds so much happiness to who I am as a person involved in their life. No, not everyone I know will see my best Miley Cyrus impression, but maybe that’s not the side of who I am that they need to see.