How Would You Describe Yourself?

How you describe yourself is a pretty good indication of how you see your place in the world. Most people start off with their occupation, “I am an engineer…”. Some site past achievements, others family relationships.

I think a major source of how you describe yourself must do with your future. It must be how you want to spend your remaining years on this earth. Your self-description should be about your future, not your past.

With that in mind, letting go of your “have been” life how would you describe yourself?

For most of us, this question will probably take some contemplation to get it right. It certainly did for me. I can’t say “I am an engineer” as I haven’t practiced that profession for years now. I can’t claim to be a volunteer in a soup kitchen as that ended more than a couple of years ago. Here is what I can say. I am a now:

  • Prolific Blogger
  • Nuanced Skeptic
  • Progressive Christian
  • Amateur Documentary Photographer.

I maintain three blogs and a couple of photography sites and I certainly am a skeptic about certain aspects of life. I only recently started calling myself a Christian again and that is because I shed the Evangelical label and adopted the Progressive one. (see my blog at RedLetterLiving for more about that.) One of my passions is photography particularly documenting the historical places I have visited. Looking to the future, however short it is, these are the descriptions that I put on myself.

How would you describe yourself?

My Essence Statement – Who I Am

In a recent post, I declared myself as living a joyous life of a nuanced skeptic. This post will flesh out that description as to make you even more confused. 🙂 

Now in my old age, I am convinced that it takes almost a lifetime to determine just what your personal essence is.  We can all describe ourselves at various points in our lives but to find the essence of you is much more difficult. Maybe the difficult part is to do it in just a few words. I have been playing with the words above for several weeks now. Ever since I read a related post over at my friend Bob’s blog at Satisfying Retirement I have been struggling to find just the right words to describe my life.  I think this description pretty much sums it up for me.

Let’s go through my self-description word by word. As Bob pointed out there is a difference between happiness and joy. If I remember it right he proclaimed that happiness is a short temporary thing whereas joy is a state of being.  If you are really joyous it will get you through the darker periods that crush happiness.  I kinda like that definition so it heads up my essence statement.  The term“Essence Statement” is kind of provocative; I think I will use it often going forward. 🙃

Nuanced is a word that might not be familiar to all of you.  I had to look it up just to make sure it is precisely what I wanted. As you can see it is about shades of grey. That is looking at the small things to make a difference in the big things.  Unlike some of my more conservative friends, I am definitely not a black/white person. To me, everything is shades of grey.

Now on to the last word which is a skeptic. To me, being skeptical means that I question almost everything and try to think for myself in most situations that I encounter in life.  Many of those areas are when science and folklore/tradition collide. That kind of skepticism which is very natural to me, got me thrown out of a Luthern church because I didn’t believe what I was “supposed” to. But in most other areas of life skepticism, at least my version of it has made my life fuller.  I don’t criticize to tear things down, I criticize to make them better.

I lead a joyous life of a nuanced skeptic.

How about you; what is your essence statement?

Who Are You??

Like most of us, people often ask me who I am?  When we are in our employment years we often answer with our current occupation.  For me, that was an IT/Database developer. Depending on who is asking we sometimes give a different answer.

But in reality, it takes years and often an entire lifetime to determine who we really are. Throughout our lives, we struggle with one thing or another and those struggles are a big part of what forms who we are.

They say that diversity builds character and I can certainly attest to that fact. Living in poverty and financially struggling through college gave me an extra dose of empathy for those who had it worse than me.

Changing the subject slightly, as our constitution says we all have the right to our “pursuit of happiness” but just what is happiness? Does it come in bursts or is it more long lasting? I’m not sure I yet have an answer to that but I do know that I am now a joyous person. It has taken years to get here but finally, in my senior years, I have accomplished being joyous.

If we think about it enough we can come up with the perfect answer to this common question of who we are.  I think I have finally found my answer:

I live a joyous life of a nuanced skeptic

That is who I am. But how did I get here? I will save that for a near future post.

How about you?? Who are you?