Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Paper Bag of Me

"And what do you do?" is a question that has bothered me for as long as I can remember. 

It bothered me most often during the last three years - after leaving a lifetime (truly - about 25 years) working in healthcare and taking time off to be at home; raising my daughters, taking my mom to doctor visits here or there, doing laundry, making art and keeping our house afloat.  

But long before that, it bothered. Because "what do you do?" it is often the question used to define someone. And the answers bother me as much as the question. I am not a person who likes to be defined by what I do. 

Because for me . . . I am so much more than my job. So lately, I have been thinking about what defines me. 

What is the true, authentic definition of me? 

Am I the "insurance lady" in a doctors office? The wanna-be artist? Healthcare worker? A mother? Daughter? Wife? Am I the brownie leader who makes the little ones laugh? Or the woman who has struggled with her weight her whole entire life? Am I the girl with short hair? Or the girl who loved theater so much, but never took a chance on herself? Yes, while all of those things are stories of me, do they actually define me? 

When I leave this world, what will be remembered about me? 

I read through a lot of blog posts, watched Ted talks, and read tons of articles while thinking this whole concept through. One of the posts I read (so sorry - I cannot remember the source, or I would certainly credit it here), spoke about imagining being handed a paper bag and being asked to fill it with things that would represent you. 

I like that idea. 

My paper bag. 

When I start to think of what I would put in my paper bag, I realize that I would fill it more with thoughts and ideas than actually items. Of course, I'd love to have a pencil, a marker, a paint brush or two . . . may be a few photos here or there . . . but mostly, I would fill it with words.  

Kindness. Laughter. Faith. Hope. Truth. Love. 

Because those are the things I want to me known for. 

Not my job. Not the work that I do. 

I want to be known for the feeling I give to people while with them. I want to be known for the giving of positive energy. For what I out out. I know I haven't saved the world - but I hope that in some small, tiny way - I can bring some joy to those I share my world with, either by a smile, a laugh, or a moment of complete and total love. 

That is what I think my definition is. 

What I do - that's just how I fill my days. But who I am, I think, is so much more. 

Wishing you peace, my friends. Always. 
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