For as long as I can remember I would internally ponder the word “I”, turning it over and over in my mind — searching for a definition. Who am I? The question could take me nearly to a transcendental state of mind.
Looking back on life, in hindsight — which is always 20/20 — you can see that who you were has morphed dozens of times over the years. Especially if you’ve lived as long as I have.
Life has a way of changing you, shaping you, pressing you down, and building you up. You find things and people which matter to you, only to lose them. You grow shields to protect your heart just to learn the lesson on how to let go.
You move. You change careers. Marriage and divorce and other relationships happen. Children and grandchildren crack you open in ways you could never imagine. Chronic illness is the trump card you never see until it’s played.
I am not nearly the woman I was who was mother to my children. I am not the same nurse I was when I began my career. I am not the same person who got married at eighteen or even the one who got divorced at fifty. I’m no longer Catholic. Or atheist.
I have molted and shifted and changed skins, colors, and feathers so many times in my life I have lost track of it all. I only know it continues. Because growth will not be denied. When we outgrow our skin — we will shed it. We must.
What do I believe? What do I feel? What do I know?
Different things than I did last year. Or yesterday. Or than I will tomorrow.