Thursday, October 29, 2009

Narrowing the Parameters

It is not a secret that women have always worn a lot of different hats. We are mothers, employees, wives, friends, homemakers, daughters, sisters, caretakers, and so on and so on. So when asked the question, “who do you want to be?” the process of answering can get overwhelming. And takes careful thought. And some investment of time.

Is it no wonder, then, that we often just pass over the question entirely?
Frankly it can feel like too much work to answer.

To help me tackle this query, then, I tried to narrow down the parameters a bit.
First I considered character. What, I asked, are the three most important character qualities that I want to be known for? And after debating a list of choices, I decided I wanted to have 1) wisdom, 2) leadership, and 3) courage (often displayed as confidence). There were admittedly a lot of other virtuous traits I could have chosen--like empathy, charity, and patience--and perhaps some of those would make the top of your list. But I had to start somewhere, so I started with my top three.

Then I moved onto money. I figured that my attitude and relationship with money
(or, more broadly, resources) said a lot about who I was, so I wanted to make sure the message was a good one. I determined that stewardship was my highest priority--meaning that above all things I wanted to be thankful and responsible with the money and resources I had. This meant being a conscientious consumer and a conservative spender. I also decided that I wanted to make money--to be profitable--during all the seasons of my life. Which led me to the next category: work.

I know that what we do isn’t who we are, but we can express who we are through our work.
And so I decided that my work had to provide an outlet for my creativity and intellect, and that it needed to profit my family. Since the job I was working at the time of this little personal inventory only satisfied the last measure--profit--I knew I needed to make a change.

Finally, a large part of who we are involves the relationships we have in our lives.
We don’t want our roles in relationships to completely define us, but we do want to be intentional about them. So I decided to examine mine and try to put them into order of importance. Was my role as a mother (well...future mother as in my case) more valuable to me than my role as a friend or a wife? If so, I would need to invest more into it. As such, I actually decided that Wife was my first priority (something I’m constantly trying to remember...), and that Mother came second, and Friend came third. Related to this, I also decided that Mother was more important to me than Worker, which gave me the permission to nurture my maternal side, and to ease up a bit on career.

In any event, this is a long-winded way of saying
that taking the time to explore who I wanted to be was worth the energy, and narrowing down the question helped me get to the answers.

So if you’re feeling introspective this weekend,
and have a bit of leisure time, consider the following:

:: what three character qualities do you want to be known by?
:: what do you want your money to say about you?

:: what kind of work would express your personality best?

:: and what relational roles are the most important to you?

Happy Introspection!

Glossary of Hats, all from handmade sellers on

1. romantic chunky knit beret by crafts 2 cherish
2. knitcollar hood by hortensia handmade
3. 1940’s style linen hat by sanchia 845
4. havana fedora by tissage
5. birdcage by fatale femme

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