who i am not.

The older I get the more I realize I can’t do.

I’m too old to try out for American Idol (that and I can’t carry a tune to save my life).
I’ll never be Homecoming Queen.
Or win a spelling bee.
I’ll never go to med school. Or be an astronaut. Or be a secret agent.
Or score a winning goal in the state playoffs.

And I’m not really a girl to pay attention to limits or rules or age restrictions.
I still order kids meals and play on the playground (sometimes even when my kids aren’t there). Lack of athletic ability didn’t stop me from completing a sprint triathalon or playing soccer. I’ve sung karaoke (we’ve already mentioned that these are skills I don’t have), I’ve danced in public (and I’m so bad), I’ve jumped off a cliff (even though I am petrified of heights). I’ve gotten tattoos and pierced my nose even though I’m pretty sure over 30 is past the window for that kind of crazy. And all kinds of ridiculous other things. But let’s face. The door is closing or has already closed on some things.

And that whole you can be anything you want to be.
It’s kind of wearing off.
And maybe it is only true when you are under 4 feet.
Or maybe it isn’t really true at all.
And I’ve spent years trying to figure out who I am.
And I finally think I have a decent idea.
But maybe just as important is figuring out who I am not.

I am not good with any kind of administration or organizational task.
I am not ever going to have a spotless house.
I am not a formal kind of girl. I don’t like crystal or place settings with more than one fork.
I am not really a rule follower.
I am not the most productive girl with my time.
I am not a size 6. Nor was I ever. Nor will I ever be.
I am not a good authoritarian. I don’t run my class that way. I don’t parent that way. And just because some people do. Doesn’t mean I have to.
I am not a good listener. This is something that I can and should change.
I am not the kind of girl that can survive for very long on less than 8 hours of sleep.
I am not good at sitting still or being quiet. And sometimes I need to be.
I am not a good stay at home mom. And there is nothing like being iced in for 4 straight days to reinforce that. But that doesn’t mean I love my kids any less.
I am not subtle.
I am not Martha Stewart.
I am not good with money.
I am not 17anymore. (or 21 or even 31).
I am not good at keeping secrets or telling lies or hiding things.
I am not type A. I’m not even sure I use the same alphabet.
I am not my mom.
I am not my husband’s mom.
I am not you.
I am not good at focusing on one thing.
I am not the best driver.
I am not good at looking for things I lost or can’t remember where I put them.
I am not always the most sensitive girl.
I am not as secure as I’d like to be.
I am not afraid of awkward situations.
I am not a golfer.
I am not an Oprah fan.
I am not the right body shape for slim jeans.
I am not a good speller.
I am not much of an editor.
I am not really into details.
I am not any less than anyone else.

And this list isn’t entirely original. First of all I’m pretty sure I read a similar post sometime in the last few months but can’t remember where to give it proper credit. And I’ve posted my share of lists here. I’ve written about what I am. Things I don’t do. And some of my disclaimers. And so maybe this one is overkill. Apparently I am not all that original either.

And I teach my kids that they have all kinds of options and hopes and possibilities.
And I still do. At 32 and even at 80, I hope to do more things, see more places, climb more mountains, learn new things, run more races, and be a little more of the me that I wish I was. But knowing who I am is also knowing who I am not. And not wasting anytime trying to be anyone else.

(and p.s. if you ever want to know who you aren’t ….and you ask your husband for some help….be warned that you might not want to hear his answers!)


Kier's Serendipity said...

I LOVE your list....and I especially like that last bit of advice about the husband bit. :)

Aidan Donnelley Rowley said...

Oh, how I love this. I might have to piggyback and make my own list. I have been pondering a post, similar in nature I think, called Never Again about the things that I will never do again. Ultimately, I do think this comes down to time, identity, and limits. So interesting because we spend so much time trying to define who it is we are and maybe it would be easier, and more efficient, to find out first who we are not. Maybe I will muster the bravery to ask Husband!