Who am I – with you and without you?  What kind of a person am I? How would that kind of a person act?

The Heisenburg principle of uncertainty says, in my words, that the measuring of a thing affects the thing itself. Put another way, you cannot measure a thing to any level of certainty, because the mere act of that measurement changes it.  In corporate life, we use this to our advantage by measuring things we want to improve.  Measure it and it will improve.  In regular life, though, I go in circles.

I am who I am around you.  And not.

I’m not particularly good at transitions.  Scratch that.  I’m not particularly graceful at transitions.  Good implies success; I am successful at transitioning.  Grace, though, suggests  I move from one version of myself to another with elegance and a minimum of fuss.

Despite my desire, I am not a creature for whom “minimum of fuss” makes sense.  The act of fussing about not fussing is, after all, fussing.

I think about who I am like an investigator might, trying to discern the big picture from the small details I see.  What kind of a manager am I? I wonder, looking for evidence that might create a theory.  What kind of wife?  What kind of mother might I be?

Such a silly way to spend my thought time.  I am the kind of person I am.  The kind of mother I’ll be is the kind that is like me.  I’m the kind of wife who wonders what kind of wife she is.  Giving myself a “kind” doesn’t change the way I behave, at least, not in a good way.

I realize I spend more time defining myself by what I don’t want to be than by what I want to be.  I don’t want to be the kind of manager that says one thing and does another. Except all managers do this at some point.  I don’t want to be the kind of person that gives in on the principles that matter. Except at some point, everything is a shade of gray.  I don’t want to be one of those people that doesn’t recognize subtlety and nuance, only believing in black or white. Aaaand, we’re back to the beginning.

Another way to think about it, to declare what “kind” I am.  I’m the kind of manager who asks for input but makes decisions when necessary.  I’m the kind of wife who doesn’t think of herself as a wife at all. That doesn’t really work either; I’m constantly defining the “kind” I am.

Maybe grace comes in setting aside the idea of labels and just being.  Less meta, more shallow.  Maybe I need to adopt my husband’s life strategy: “Just do something.  Anything.  As long as it’s something.”


Serendipity!  From here:

Making this distinction is a subtle thing- but it can be as simple as shifting from “Jamie is shy” to “Jamie is being shy.” The first way leaves Jamie no room to be anything but shy.  The second says that even if she’s being shy right now, this is not an essential property of HER, but something that she’s doing (and could potentially stop doing.)


2 thoughts on “Identity

  1. If it’s possible, I’m graceful at change but not good at it. I feel good about it, I want it, but it kicks my butt. When you don’t do enough fussing along the way it can lead to things sneaking up on you and making a big emotional crash.

  2. i always discuss this topic of transition with my friend sam. and how we are both particularly NOT graceful at it.
    recently (while i was in DC which is actually where I’m moving to in a week) i was at orientation for my new job and met someone who’s job was LITERALLY “transition specialist” since this staff at one building will be transitioning to another building.
    i was hoping to get some sort of deep psychological answers from him regarding transition but it turns out he deals with more of the literal aspects of it. like moving things.
    not quite the advice i was looking for unfortunately. but it did make me wish there was such a thing as a transition specialist to help me through all life’s transitions.
    but i understand where you are coming from. i feel the same way. i wish i could be one of those people who just lets things happen and doesn’t overthink or excessively worry.
    but alas. i think after each transition though, it does get slightly easier.

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