I’m defined by the people around me at any particular point in time. When I was young I was a brother and a son, and as I get older I have more definitions that all fit me in some way, shape, or form. I’ve been a boyfriend, a worker, a writer, then an author, a friend, a husband, a father, and the list goes on. It’s funny how that happens, but it also means I have a lot of challenges for my time.
Time is finite, as we all know, and I’m a firm believer in the fact that we make time for what’s important to us, and for the people who we feel matter. If others don’t make time for me then I can’t help but assume that I’m not as important to them as they tell me I am.
Believe me, I know all about making time for things. As a writer with self-imposed deadlines I’ve become quite skilled at taking care of things in a timely fashion, sometimes at the expense of proper sleep or time spent doing other things I enjoy. But when I look back at my writing, and I see where it went because I spent time on it, it’s all worth it. It makes me feel like some kind of deity who spoke something into existence, and in my case what I spoke were entire civilizations on the written page.
I was a writer first, after being a son, a brother, and an erstwhile friend, so I take it more seriously than a lot of other things that most people would find important. The ability to create words that hang together in a discernible pattern on a page moves me in a way no painting ever could. Taking my characters like clay and molding them into forms of my choosing is such a high I can’t even describe the feeling adequately to you using those aforementioned words. Being a writer defines me in so many ways that affects everything else in my life.
But now I’m a father, and being a father has changed me fundamentally. It doesn’t mean that my writing takes a backseat, but it means that my writing takes a backseat. Being a father means taking a lot of time out of my schedule to share moments with my children, to create those moments by being there, by being available. I’ve never had anything remotely close to that level of consistency expected from me in the past, never had another soul depend on me for everything before. It’s daunting, but nearly 10 years in I think I might have the hang of it. Of course, though, all 10 years in means is that those teen years are coming, and soon.
I’m also a worrier, but I’m subtle at it. I’m a typical guy that way, I guess, not showing my emotions where everyone can see them and judge me by them. I worry to myself, internalizing every single thing that could possibly go wrong in my life. Then I blow those non-issues up into full blown issues, at least in my mind, until I’m sweating profusely and hoping desperately that someone comes to save me from myself. Often times it’s one of my friends who says just the right thing, or who distracts me with a LOLcat meme, or who texts me a picture of their butt. Thank you for the hind quarters. I laughed.
These definitions of me are myriad and forever shifting. Sometimes I’m 5 things at once to 5 different people, doing 5 different things based on priorities of each definition. Keeping things straight can be difficult, but I’m just one of billions of people in this crazy world of ours. Imagine how everyone else keeps things together while simultaneously redefining themselves day by day, minute by minute, and second by second. It’s like a great juggling act by world class manipulators in tandem every single moment of our lives. And it’s exhausting, but it’s life. It’s why we get up in the mornings, what gives our lives meaning in the seemingly meaningless existences we’re expected to live.
What defines you most?