I look back on myself as a young teenager and sometimes wonder who that was. I would describe myself as silly (which my Daddy hated!) and light-hearted and extremely blessed. I changed gradually growing up. Going through college gave me experiences and brought new people to my life and opened my world. Traveling opened my mind and broadened my experiences. Sitting through three years of law school classes certainly thickened my skin. I still shudder thinking about the time my Tax professor grilled me for an answer I had absolutely no idea how to give. I left the classroom in tears of shame and embarrassment. I was too afraid to ask questions or for help. My first job made me become responsible, budget conscience and unafraid to ask questions. My second job initiated me by fire by forcing me right into the courtroom and in front of a judge. It also took me to prisons throughout the state where I saw and learned a whole other side of life. I became so sympathetic and wanted badly to help some of these folks and undo some wrongs done to them, but also unsympathetic and jaded toward others.
Marriage was another big changer. Living with another person definitely changes a person. Learning to navigate ups and downs, moods, temperaments, habits and not kill each other is a huge never-ending lesson. Wife is an adjective in itself! Becoming a mother was one of the biggest, heartwarming, painful and gut-wrenching changes in life. I’ve learned to survive on no sleep, the art of patience, the power and exhaustion of tough love, the beauty of a hug, and how to handle the constant stream of dirty socks, empty refrigerators and never-ending worry. I’ve also seen changes in just how The Husband and I parent with each child and as our boys grow. I feel as if it’s a constant education and evolution. There are so, so many adjectives to describe being a mother. Endless adjectives.
I’ve seen change come to my friends by way of illness, death and life events. I have hated seeing some of the changes happen to my friends and family and being completely unable to help them. These events change my friends. Maybe they become stronger, more faithful, maybe bitter and beaten down or seasoned, experienced and wise. There have also been second chances, new births, opportunities and new life experiences that bring change. Often people become more thankful, gracious, appreciative. These can be such good changes to see!
I was talking with someone about life’s changes this week. This person had, until recently, been relatively untouched by any major life event. This person made the comment that until you had something happen to you “you just really didn’t get it.” Life touches people differently at different times. Joyous times come and, unfortunately, tumultuous times may come, as well as sadness. It struck me that I absolutely “got it” and so empathized with this friend. I have been thinking about how people become changed and how the the adjectives that describe them also changes.
Personally, I have become a different person than I was three years ago. Losing my three family members in three years has changed me in many ways. One of the biggest things I know about myself now is that I have gained so much more empathy for other people and their loss or pain. Empathetic is one of the best adjectives I have for myself. I want to wrap other people in my arms, send them words of comfort and just listen with my heart. I can so feel other people’s pain in a way now that I just couldn’t experience earlier.
I have tried not to let loss and grief define me and stay sad, angry and bitter. With time I have learned to handle the sad moments, the punch in your gut times and loneliness better. I want the changes in me to be for the better and for some good. I can’t help the overwhelming hurt in my heart when I hear about another person’s loss or pain. I hope this is a good and healthy change in me and that this new adjective finds its purpose. I know that other changes will come as well as new adjectives. I just hope they will be positive ones. . . . like strong, spirited, fun, kind, giving, fabulous mother-in-law, crazy grandmother. . . you get the idea!
What adjective describes you? How have those adjectives changed? What changes have you had that have changed your adjectives?