Definition (a definition – cute, right?) – noun (1) an explanation of the meaning of a word, phrase, etc. (2) a statement that describes what something is (3) a clear or perfect example of a person or a thing.
I can define a lot of words and concepts if asked. I’m a super nerd like that sometimes. You can probably describe a perfect example of a thing. Dictionaries can define most things to the point that we accept them as factual. What I’m having trouble doing is defining myself, and here’s why:
My definition of self is consistently changing. By the time I finish this blog, I will have something new and different by which I might define myself. There are some things that I know are staunchly within the definition of me: daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend, human, female, caregiver, alive, average height. Other words, however, may or may not have a place within my definition.
I’m educated but I don’t think I’ve ever used that phrase to describe myself. I have a way with words – or at least I assume that is why you choose to read what I have to say – but I’d never consider myself a writer.
I’ve always enjoying riding my bike, but I’ve never identified as a cyclist. Until recently, I would never have considered myself “athletic;” though it’d be hard to deny that running 3-4 days a week, riding my bike 1-2 times a week and numerous mile-long walks anything other than that. I can paint. I actually paint quite well. I also play piano and have dabbled in a number of other musical instruments, but I don’t know if I’d call myself artistic or musical.
At work I maintain and manage envelopes and paper, but I’ve never ever used work as part of my definition. I cook. I cook often and I’m creative and inventive in the kitchen, but I’m no chef. Four years ago the word “Floridian” would never have entered the definition… actually, it still doesn’t. I wonder if it ever will…
I’m sometimes empathetic (but hardly ever sympathetic.) I’m chatty though sometimes introspective and reclusive. I’m a planner who often plays it by ear.
And I change every minute of every. damn. day. So is it even possible to define myself? Is it worth trying? I mean, in the end (which is hopefully a VERY long time off) my obituary won’t describe my affinity for wine and reading humor columns or my ability to draw a hibiscus. You won’t read about my love-hate relationship with hot yoga or how I played kickball. There will be no mention of the fact that I named my bicycle or how I wanted a real Beluga Whale for my 23rd birthday. Future generations won’t know that I want to live in a sea foam green home with white trim, black shutters and a wrap around porch or that I’m a genuinely happy person with an inexplicably high level of confidence. No one will read that my family shaped me in a way that I can only hope I can carry on to my theoretical children, grandchildren, etc.
My obituary will state for you the staunch facts that always have, and always will, define me – unchanged: daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend, (maybe one day wife, mother, grandmother,) human, female, caregiver, average height and (by the time it runs in the newspaper if newspapers still exist at that time) deceased.