Today I was asked to provide a byline for a column I’ve written.
I’ve done a gazillion of these. One short sentence that describes me. Gives the reader a snippet of background on whose work they’re reading.
Should be simple, right? But it confounds me every time. How do I sum up an entire lifetime in once sentence? How do I tell you what’s important to me, what motivates me, what I do for my life’s work… personally and professionally?
I’m advised, “Don’t overthink it.”
And right away, I realize that the thoughts and feelings coming up with this simple byline request are a blessing to me today. An opportunity to learn more about myself through soulful introspection. I’m grateful for it.
My work identity has been in transition for the last five or so years. Well, changes began earlier than that, but 2010 marks the pivotal point of this transformation. And by transformation, I mean… well, to be honest, I’m not sure exactly what I mean.
Health issues dictated that my work life from which I thought I was temporarily taking a breather turned out to go the way of the dodo. In the process, I’ve gone through a massive shift in lifestyle, in physical abilities, in outlook on life. So what do I include in my byline?
Transitions used to scare the hell out of me. It’s the unknown that gets me every time. But now, while change can sometimes still make me squirm in my seat, it also intrigues me. Makes me wonder. Even excites me a little bit because… endless possibilities. I have actually come to appreciate and embrace the experience of jumping into whatever is next with grace and openness instead of cowering in fear.
Our little daily inspirational calendar this morning embodied this approach to life:
Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity.
In my work, I had a deep-rooted, self-imposed identity as a professional graphic and web designer, consultant, and facilitator of wellness groups and workshops for a long time. Then it was gone. Scary. If I let that go and no longer have that identity to fall back on, what have I got left?
Who am I without the labels? Without the titles? And could I ever possibly hope that twenty or so words could encapsulate the truth underneath all those labels?
So, with curiosity I ask, “Who am I today?” Not based on yesterdays or tomorrows, but who am I this moment, right now. That’s all that matters.
I submitted my byline. I don’t expect it to be a full representation of who I am. I don’t even think it begins to touch the surface. But the event of being asked brought me into a place of curiosity about something that has in the past brought fear. I love that stuff.