"Who am I?" is quite literally the question I silently asked myself as I settled into a folding chair next to the parent of one of my daughter's classmates at a meeting regarding their upcoming trip to Washington DC. He had smiled and said "Hello," and as I smiled back, it took me a moment to get my mind focused on where I was, why I was there, and how I should respond to this individual sitting next to me. I closed my eyes for a second, brought myself into the moment, and said, "Hi. How is Ethan?" He replied, "Very well." And we were off. I was, once again, a parent attending a meeting at school with other parents.
Some days, we wear many hats as individuals, and for me, it can be challenging to "change my hat" quickly enough to assume the role I am in. Going from being a wife to being a mother, from being an employee and co-worker to being a giver of time to those in need, from being a daughter and sister to being a friend, and finally, to being the keeper of me - especially when it is required all in one day - can seem daunting, even impossible. And, yet, most of us do it most days.
I don't generally wear actual hats (although the thought to start that trend again has crossed my mind), so changing actual hats in order to "change my hat" as a person is of no help. I do, however, often change my shoes prior to "changing my hat." This small act is often all it takes for me to step into the new role I am playing. Make no mistake about my intention here. I am not saying that I change the being of who I am when I take on the various roles I play in life; on the contrary, what I am doing is taking the being of me fully into each of my roles so that I can be fully present and be my best me in each of the positions I aim to fulfill in life. Which is why simply closing my eyes and pausing to reflect on it can remind me of who I am, all that I am, even when a change of shoes is not in order. That is who I am.
"Anxiously awaiting Spring," has been my response of choice of late when asked, "How are you?" "Anxiously awaiting Spring" suggests hope for what Spring brings; it also suggests a certain longing to let winter go. Sadly, that has been my focus. I'm not usually one to harbor ill toward the seasons, even the harsh winters of my home town, but this winter has been different.
Today I walked my favorite woods and beach path, once again snow-covered from yesterday's falling. The chill wind was blowing, necessitating my hood and mittens. I dreaded going out, knowing it would be so. But once out in it, I felt good. The chill didn't make me shiver; it invigorated me. The snow didn't blanket my happiness; it beautified my path. The quiet didn't make me feel lonely; it made me feel peaceful.
Long, dark, frigid, and seemingly lifeless winter days can make us feel weary and isolated. The same can be said of long, dark, frigid, and seemingly lifeless relationships, careers, and simple daily life. When we try to protect ourselves from these aspects of winter, or life, it is easy to become afraid to face them. If, however, we get 'out in it,' so to speak, and face everything as it comes, we can appreciate the opportunity and reward for having done so.
Embrace all that the seasons of life bring. Get 'out in it' and make the most of it, always grateful for the opportunity to LIVE another day!
Anxiously awaiting Spring? Of course. Also, joyfully enjoying Winter.
author of "JOY"