By Shelly Akins
Identity: identifying ones self as something.
All summer people have been asking me, “What have you been doing now that you quit your job?” I find myself struggling to answer this question. I’m not a stay-at-home mom because my kids still go to day care; I’m not working on writing seriously, so I’m not a writer; I’m not a teacher because I just sub. I started thinking, I’m not really anything.
That’s not really a true statement. Of course I’m a wife, mother, daughter, friend, but why isn’t that enough? Why do I feel like I need a job to have an identity? Maybe it’s because we spend most of our lives telling people what we want to do and be. When we’re five people ask: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” When we’re in high school we’re asked, “What are your plans for after graduation? What are you going to do?” When we’re leaving college people ask “Do you have a job? What are you doing next?” Our jobs dictate where we live, what kind of car we buy, the house we live in, what vacations we take. We are identified by what we do, for better or worse.
So how do I answer the question, “What do you do?” I substitute teach. I do laundry. I’m a consultant. I hang out with my kids. I play Wii games. I watch Project Runway. I write on occasion. I go to lunch with friends. I quilt.
I love having control over my time. Time to discover my new identity and a new way to answer the question, “So, what do you do?” I do what I need and want to do. Each day is a new adventure and I am enjoying not knowing what it is I do.