How Would You Describe Yourself?
Think of "Why"
If someone were to ask you to describe yourself, what would you say? Most would answer with a description of their current occupation or what they do for a living. A lawyer, a barista, a parent, a photographer, etc…
I have been recently listening to a podcast from Jeffery Saddoris featuring Sean Tucker. In one particular episode they asked this very question and at first I answered the same way as most other would have. I would have described myself by what I do. But what I do isn’t really describing why I do it. It’s not as easy of a question to answer as it seems. If you were to ask a lawyer why they chose that profession, I would think that some would say that that they want to be able speak up for those that need help. To help and represent those that have no voice. Now there are other ways to do this action, but being a lawyer is one of those ways. After a while, we tend to forget the direct reason for taking up the cause, but it’s always in the back of our minds. Or perhaps, we don’t even know what the reason is when we start doing it, it just eventually comes out of us.
I’ve been questioning myself a lot lately based on what it is that I do. I’ve spent the majority of my working life as an Engineer and I would probably use this to describe myself to someone, but I would have a hard time describing why I do this as a profession. A lot of times we take up jobs because we have to and they aren’t necessarily our first choices. Now it’s not to say that what we choose to do early in our careers were the wrong choices, but perhaps they were not the only choices. Or perhaps there were more fitting choices that we didn’t think of. Whatever the reason, being able to evolve in what you do is part of maturing your life.
Some are fortunate enough to know why they do what they do and what they do for it. Perhaps in my case, I went a little backwards and simply did something for the sake of doing it, not realizing that I could (or should) have been doing something else.
Based on this idea, I’m not really sure how I would describe myself. In my younger days, I certainly wouldn’t know. As I get older, I start thinking of what’s important to me and how I can manifest that into something. So I won’t describe myself as an Engineer these days, that’s just what I happen to do for a living. I could say I’m a Photographer, but again, I feel that that is just a symptom of something else. What’s my reason for taking photographs and quite honestly, not just any photograph, some very specific genres of photography. Street/documentary photography and journalism are all things that have been capturing my interest. What is it that I’m trying to say with it? My recent foray into writing more also plays a role in what I am trying to do. Nowadays I feel the photography is more illustrating what I am feeling and writing about in my blog here.
So am I an Illustrator or a Writer then? No, I think this is just a means on communicating “something” that I am thinking or feeling. I would dare say that even some music has been creeping into my thoughts. I think these all intersect at some point. I just need to figure out where.
It’s not going to be an overnight answer for me. I think this is something that’s been evolving in me for years now and I’m currently at that point in my life where I need to start understanding why.
This is so true. Defining who we are can be such an elusive task as so much of our choices (if we can really call it that) are embedded under layer upon layer of overt and covert messages throughout our lives. Reflection and free-flow thought can at times access some if these deeply ingrained motivations. Very thoughtful piece of writing!!
I think you’re looking towards the end of one season of your life as you near retirement and that is causing you to be introspective about who you are and what direction you want to take next. I can’t wait to see what you land on! ❤️