Originally published on my blog.
We are the main character in our own stories. We have drama, humor, plots, sub-plots, action, love and loss.
Somewhere along the way, I became the reader instead of the writer. Or at best, a secondary character watching the action. My kids became the main characters. Our trips and schedules were planned around them, and trips were decided by what would hold their interest. I made career choices based on them. We met some of our closest friends through our kids, which actually has been great. For years I documented milestones and funny moments. Who am I kidding, I still do. I took a picture of my sleeping 10 yo the other day because she was snuggling her bear and looked adorable. (Is that weird?) I love it. I love them and all the craziness and wonderfulness they bring. But this Perspective piece in the Washington Post spoke to me. The writer felt she was losing herself, had lost herself, when she had kids and she describes finding her way back.
When you become a parent, your identify shifts. I was career focused and all of a sudden my first descriptor became ‘mom’ at 34. While I love being a mom, I didn’t want my whole identity to be tied into it. I feel like I always knew this, and yet I didn’t really get it until recently. I was laid off in August and my career felt gone. Forget the last 20 years. That was no longer part of my identity. What was left? Mom and wife. Daughter and sister. Sculpture hobbyist. Baker with a lot of enthusiasm if not success. I was no longer the protagonist in my own story. I’ve become the quirky friend. I’m the one who laughs at the funny stories that happen to the main characters. I am reacting. I need to get my life back.
So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to try to focus on me, but not change any of the fun and love with my kids and family. Just add to what I have, in a different way. Redefine who I am. Refocus my career. Really take stock in what I want and what makes me happy and brings me joy. My aspirations are different because my needs are different now. I am not just one thing. That needs to be repeated daily. Maybe to myself in the mirror. None of us are just one thing. I need to find some fun and adventure on my own too. I need to be my own main character again just as the kids are the main character in their stories.