July 31, 2020 was my last day of work for a wonderful small organization near where I live. I knew it would happen when the pandemic hit. It was only a matter of time. I lost my job, and as a result, my identity. Work was how I defined myself, but was I right with that assessment?
Work as my identity
Since I was eleven years old, I have always worked in some capacity. Starting with putting together electrical boxes for my dad to working in the office with my mom to my last job, I have helped people in some capacity or another.
The worst part is now, after losing my job, I really didn’t know what to do with myself. Don’t get me wrong, I kept busy by going to school, working on sewing projects and the like. However, a singular thought kept creeping back into my mind – my whole identity came from working.
But I was wrong…working doesn’t just define me.
I define who I am
It has taken awhile, but being off of work has helped me to realize that I am defined by who I am, how I live my life and how I treat others. I am a kind and considerate person. I tend to put others before myself. But by not working and with the shelter-in-place orders, I had a hard time redirecting my center of attention. I had to focus more on me and less on doing something, anything to help others. It felt a little uncomfortable.
I realized though, that in order to really define who I am, I had to do a little work on me. And that is what I have been doing for the last several months. I have known all along that I really wanted more time for me, but the other half of “me” was tugging on my heart to get back to taking care of others.
Doing for others by living my life
Truth be told, I actually am doing things for others. I am staying home to flatten the curve. Wearing a face mask when I do go out in public to protect my family, friends, neighbors and people I don’t even know. I make face masks for others who need them. And right now, all these things speak to the person that I am.
I live my life with integrity, simplicity and thoughtfulness.
I am able to walk around knowing that I can hold my head high, and not be ashamed for anything that I have done. More importantly, I don’t need a lot of accolades, just the warm and honest “thank you’s” done behind the scenes from those that really appreciate what I do. Knowing that “I think before I do” helps to remind me and others, that I don’t execute without putting a little thought into it.
I define who I am by living authentically and truthfully.
What really matters
I know that I won’t be out of work forever. Life, for me, will return to a normal that I am comfortable with. In fact, everyone’s life will return to their own normal. #embracethechanges everyone and remember, my normal may be different than yours, and that is okay because that is all that really matters.
Wishing you moments to discover who you really are.