What We Are When We Are Not the Roles We Play

I have worked hard, in my adult life, not to identify myself solely by my job. I am more than the forty hours of work that I do each week, no matter how much I may love what I do during those hours. I also strive to be more than what I am to other people. Of course, I am a wife, a daughter, a friend, a sister, a dog mom, a cat mom, a partner, a coworker, a volunteer. But those only describe me in terms of how I relate to other people; they do not answer the question of who I am.

For most of my life, I would tell you that I am a reader. For the last few years, I may have become comfortable with calling myself a writer. And in recent months, I've finally started to consider myself a runner.

What, then, happens when we remove those labels? In recent months, I've been on some kind of continual reading slump. I finish books, sure, but nothing clicks the way it used to, the way it did when I first came to identify as a reader. And short of deadlines I try not to miss (because I am on time), I haven't written much of anything, and what I have written has been fluffy at best. So I have not been much of a writer lately either.

I typically run several days a week, and recently completed my first ultramarathon, so I'm comfortable enough calling myself a runner. But I fell--hard--a while back, and found myself unable to run for over a month. Even now, I'm not back to my many-mile self, the one who wrote after running a 50k that I hoped to keep up 20-30 mile weeks. I'm lucky if I eek out 15 of late, and none of those miles are pleasant ones.

Which has me thinking: what are we when we are not the roles we play? What defines our day, shapes our selves, fills our time, sets our direction?

I don't have the answers, yet. Just the questions. So maybe for now I'm a seeker, or a questioner, or a breather. Or maybe I need to learn to end the sentence after "I am."

I am.

I am.

I am.

And just be.