May 12, 2010

Define yourself

Gonna be a bit serious today, Blog. It’s been that kind of a week.

I’ve lived long enough to observe my own life for awhile, as well as the lives of others in my circle of the world. And at this point I think it’s valuable to step back once in awhile and define yourself.

That is, think about who you are as a unique individual, and what you bring both to the world in general and to the specific people in your life. Each of us has gifts and opportunities given to us so that we might make a mark, however big or small, on the story of humanity. Sometimes we get so caught up in the troubles of the moment that we forget this big picture, and its importance.

You don’t have to be Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama to have significance. The person you are, the things you do, the choices you make always matter at least to the people near to you. My point, Blog, is that we all make a difference, which is why we ought to pay attention to how we define ourselves.

So I thought I make some lists to help me focus on this issue, and I invite our readers to do likewise.


A mom, a wife, a daughter: Like most people, I have to make my familial relationships my highest priority. Very simply, that’s because my family depends on me and I on them.

A woman of advancing age and experience: I also look upon myself as someone who can share a little wisdom with others, especially other women. By doing that I make the lessons I’ve learned have greater importance rather than merely benefitting me.


I entertain. I have been given some gifts, particularly the ability to write but also a knack for making people laugh. So I look on it as a duty to bring entertainment to others. A happy duty, for it brings great satisfaction.

I create. I’m one of those people who makes new things, things that weren’t there before. These creations bring more beauty and pleasure into the world, just as the creations of others do for me.

I enjoy. Sometimes what you take from life defines you as much as what you give. It’s important to me to enjoy as much as I can: people, experiences, things. My enjoyment helps to validate what others give and create.

I care. I’m not some big philanthropist or devoted volunteer, but I do have a gift for empathy. Even when I barely know someone, I feel it matters to provide them sympathy, understanding, input and a little support.


I love my family: my husband, daughters and dad. Being close to them (emotionally and hopefully physically) is my top priority.

I love stories. Telling them, reading or hearing or watching them, thinking about them, talking about them. Storytellers of all kinds are the most interesting people to me and I’m honored to be counted among them. I’m no philosopher or theologian, but I believe stories are the key to everything.

I love my home. Travel is fun, but my home means the world to me. I’d rather invest in making it more comfortable and beautiful than spend that money elsewise. I like sharing it with others and making it a haven for my family members and pets. It’s the happiest place on earth to me.

I love creativity in all its forms—the wonders of nature, animal, vegetable and mineral (God’s creation), as well as personal expression (human creation).

I love music and dance. I can’t imagine being completely happy without them.

How does such a list help a person, Blog? Well, I think it helps one focus on one’s values, see what’s really important, and that can really help when you’re trying to make an important decision, choose a path, prioritize your time, and avoid regrets.

And when the story of your own life is over, you’ll be able to look back on it and feel content and at peace, as will those who loved you. What could matter more than that?


  1. I'll wait a year to do that. Right now I'm like a butterfly that has been in a cocoon all it's life. Wrapped up with stuff, for lack of a more descriptive word, I dare not ponder on. So after this butterfly emerges then I'll define myself. Yes I will soon be 55 and I'm just beginning to walk on a new path in life. One with flowers & sunshine instead of thorns and shriveled landscape. The past is history and the pages of that story are glued together. Never to be looked upon again. Only looking forward from this moment on. A new book is about to be written and I'm liking the first chapter.

  2. I really love what Dawna said :) At ANY age you can define, or rather REdefine yourself and that's pretty comforting.

    I identified with a lot of the same items you listed, mom. I've been in a limbo period, however, for quite some time, and while I feel like I'm settling in, I'm definitely going to embark on a whole new life once my new job starts. Time management will be different, creative energy will be different, financial position will be I guess I'm kind of like a butterfly too :) I know my core values won't change, but perhaps the specific ways in which I reveal them will? Time will tell :)

  3. Very nice post, and it's funny because I've been thinking about this a lot lately too. With me losing my biggest writing job, I've had to think about where I want to go in my career and life next. I keep praying for inspiration and looking at how I define myself, as opposed to how so many people have defined me over the years.

    So thanks for posting this because I think it's something we all think about from time to time. Like Dawna and Katie, I'm thinking of it too. (Which is interesting because that means we've got ladies in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.... I love that.)

    I love what you wrote here but the funny part is one of the things I define you as is a great friend. You didn't mention what a good friend you are! I consider you a blessing, and I don't throw that word around carelessly. I enjoy learning more about you, I love how you accept me for what I am, I love how we learn from each other. I know my feelings are "safe" with you, and that is so important in a friend. (Plus, I love that you used that awesome picture of you and Davie!)

  4. I have to say Diana that you summarized a vast introspective view of yourself. That is hard to do. Plus the words "define yourself" hit me so hard I didn't know what to say. I agree that all should stop and ponder the subject. I believe in some it would effect positive change. Thank you for exposing your thoughts on this matter.

  5. Dawna--You're very welcome, and I'm really excited for you starting this new phase of your life. Glad too to see that you realized being in our 50s, we are still easily young enough to explore new roads and find new ways of living. Good for you!!

    Katesi--You too are at a very exciting crossroads! This is quite a year for you. I can't wait to see what lies ahead, as whatever unfolds, I know it's going to be some good stuff.

    Cherie--You are too, too sweet, my dear! I'm happy to be a friend to you, as you are a wonderful friend and lovely person yourself. :-D And yes, you have some challenges and choices to deal with right now too...not easy. But you'll work it all out in a good way I know, and I'm excited to be around to see what happens!