What Defines Who We Are?

What defines you as a person? Lately, I have been thinking about this exact question. Why you ask? Maybe because turning a year older recently has really made me look at how much the world has changed in my 41 years of life.

My son recently commented as we drove into REI’s parking lot that we (meaning my husband and I) really fit in now with the make of car we recently purchased. I turned to him and said,” why would you say that?” He responded, “mom, look around, what other types of cars are in this parking lot besides the make we bought and one other one?” (Which I will not name, to not offend anyone) (Although, personally I do like both makes of the vehicles in the parking lot on that particular day) It did not bother me that he labeled us what he did, but it did make me think.

Then out of the blue and just by coincidence, an acquaintance of ours also labeled us that exact same thing while we were chatting one afternoon. I had to chuckle, obviously we fit this category. Whatever that may be…

Now, I have been labeled a few things in my life. I am not upset by this at all, actually I do suppose we fit the label 85% of the time. However, it really got me thinking. What really defines a person? Is it their hobby, job,vehicle they drive, married or single, kids or no kids, jean size, preferred shoe brand, hair color, state they live in etc.? Gosh, I could go on forever.

Society is so different today than when I was a child. Even watching how parenting has changed in 18 years of my profession has been an eye opener. I sometimes think society forgets to just be who they want to be. Be someone you like. Be someone that you would be proud of. Try new things, even if that means you may be labeled by others.

It strikes me as funny, because people see us as a normal family that works, eats and sleeps. They have no idea, unless we tell them, that we have a very extreme lifestyle and if we show up on Monday for work, it was a good weekend. (We have never missed a Monday yet because of injury) What we do for fun may be so outrageous to some people but we enjoy what we do tremendously. If that means we are labeled, then so be it.

It has gotten so much easier for me to dismiss what others think of me and just do what makes me happy in every aspect of my life. Maybe this comes from some very hard life lessons I went through a few years back caring for my mother when she was ill. Actually, I know that is when my outlook on life really changed. I watched her suffer through an illness and eventually she lost her battle at an age that I feel was too young. Which taught me to live life like you want to live now, you may not have as much time as you think. Which is exactly what I do. I have fun doing what I do labeled or not, I love my job, I live in the moment and surround myself with people that make me happy.

My message to everyone out there trying to make others happy first instead of yourself is quite simple. Do what you love and love what you do…. life is too short not to.