Thursday, November 21, 2013

Giving thanks for… liking who I am, right now

Women at Forty had a post about how some people get freaked out about turning 40 because if you don’t have the life you want (or thought you wanted), it may seem like 40 is ‘too old’ to do much about it. The point of the post is that “it’s never too late to be who you might have been” - if you don’t like your life, you can always change it, and rather than being a problem, being older instead often means we have the wisdom and power to make changes that we might not have made earlier.

Although I know that the post is supposed to be encouraging and empowering, there was something about that quote (“it’s never too late to be who you might have been”) that didn’t sit right with me. I’ve been mulling it over and I think what I don’t like is the past tense in the second part of the sentence. For one thing, it doesn’t make sense, grammatically – it IS, in fact, too late to be ‘who you might have been’ because the person you might have been is, by definition, something that cannot exist in the present. I realize that the author is referencing the way people will say, “I could have been…” and the quote is trying to respond to that with “You still can be…” but the grammar is just weird.

More importantly, the way the quote is phrased seems, to me, to emphasize looking backward. That is, it refers to the idea of who you wanted to be in the past, rather than who you are now and who you want to be now. Maybe I’m just nitpicking but I would much prefer “It’s never too late to be the person you want to be” or “It’s never too late to love who you are”. Those both put the focus more on the present.

Regardless of how you phrase it, the underlying point is that many people are not, currently, happy with who they are – and as I thought about that, I realized that I am not one of those people. It’s taken a while but I feel like I’m finally in a place where I can honestly say that I like who I am. That’s not to say that I don’t have flaws or that there aren’t things I’m still working to change. But for the most part, I’m pretty happy with who I am and where I am in my life. And I am deeply grateful that I can say that…

Are you happy with who you are, or still trying to figure out how to be ‘who you might have been’?

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