Monday, December 24, 2012

I Am Not

Warning:  Self centered palaver ahead.  Read at the risk of being bored.

      The author of a book I was recently reading threw out an interesting challenge to his audience.  The book focused, in part, on personal identity.  The author's challenge was to identify yourself by what you are not.  We are so accustomed to seeing ourselves in certain behaviors and patterns but, if you can  identify yourself by what you are not, you might be surprised.  So I gave it a whirl.

1.  I'll just start with the basics.  I am not a foodie.  I care that the food I eat is fresh, organic, without  preservatives and without lots of chemicals.  Someone once described healthy food as stuff your grandparents would have eaten.  Yup.  That works.  Beyond that, I don't have a sensitive pallet.  I won't pay a small fortune to eat in a haute cuisine sort of place and a good peanut butter sandwich on fresh whole grain bread can be heaven.

2.  I am not an extrovert.  I can play one but I am not one.  I am warm, friendly, and socially confident.  I don't bat an eye at addressing a small group of 10 or 12 concerned parents nor does it bother me to address a thousand people gathered in a gym for a graduation ceremony.  No problem.  However,  I very much want and need my alone time, my time to be still and gather my thoughts.  I would far prefer to stay home and read my book then to go to any kind of party.  

3.  Although I am old enough to be one and my children are old enough to have made me one, I am not a grandparent.  I am glad I am not a grandparent.  I am not ready for that.  I want time right now to do my own thing.  I suspect IF AND WHEN grandchildren appear in my life, they will take a chunk of my time.  I will want to be with them and that will add one more thing to my to do list.  I am hoping they don't arrive on the scene until I have had more time to figure out some things about life.

4.  I am not a big fan of television.  I can take it or leave it.  Sure, I have a handful of programs I like to catch sometimes but it is no where near the end of the world if I never see them.  I tivo stuff and watch it if and when it is convenient.  If I lived alone, I doubt that the tv would be on for more than a couple of hours a week.  The reality show genre is not interesting to me, nor are cooking shows (see #1), fashion shows, quiz shows (though I can play a mean round of Jeopardy), network news, most situation comedies, most one hour drama type shows.  

5.  I am not a joiner.  I prefer solitary pursuits.  I don't now, nor have I ever, been a big fan of being in a church, on a team, in a club, or part of a group.  I read a lot but I don't do book clubs.  I have a connection to the spiritual but organized religion is so not me.  I love to ride a bike but I refuse to participate in any biking clubs or group rides.  I am hiker but not in a group. You get the idea.  The one exception:  I will take classes and I will be an active participant.

6.  I am not a "keep up with the Jones" kind of person.  I like what I like and I want what I want but not because someone else has it.  I don't really want that much anyway.  I want my books, my Apple computer toys, a few new rags two or three times a year, an adventure here or there.  I am happy with my ten year old VW bug, my 15 year old bicycle, and my one hundred year old house.

7.  I am not a crusader.  I support lots of political and social justice causes but I am not going to be out there leading the charge.  I will wear my Obama button or make donations to causes but I will not go door to door soliciting votes or funds.

8.  I am not a shopper.  That doesn't mean that I don't from time to time go shopping but it is not my chosen form of entertainment.  I can get a kick out of spending a Saturday with my young adult daughter, wandering around a local and lovely outdoor shopping area, but that's as much about spending time with her as it is about the shopping end of it.

9.  I am not a musician.  That's not to say I don't appreciate music.  I do, although I am selective about the music to which I will listen.  I am a huge fan of silence and would generally prefer to be in a house without a sound track.  When I eat out, I favor visiting with my dining companion (including myself, if I happen to be my own dining companion) over listening to some canned music.  I do enjoy listening to live musical performances but then they are the focus of my attention, not eating.

10.  I am not a snow person.  Even more basically, I am not a cold weather person.  Here in NorCal there are lots of people who love to drive over to the Sierra Nevada and ski, ski, ski (or, alternatively snow board, snow board, snow board).  Too much money, too much physical pain from the cold, too many people, too much driving.  Just plain too much.  I will always choose the warm weather over the cold weather.  I would not make it in a part of the country that has to deal with snow and ice from October through April.

       What was the point of the exercise?  I don't know exactly but it was harder than I expected it to be.  I can easily list all the things that I am but change it around and I have to struggle a bit.  How about you? Easy or hard to think of what you are not?


  1. What a great idea a post subject. Not in the least boring! We have some things in common, a few.... What we "do not" have in common is... I love tv, love music and actually played the viola for some time when i was younger. I adore a good snow storm and I am a grandma who is a huge foodie in the sense that I love to cook and eat. However you won't see me out paying an arm and a leg for meal in fancy restaurants either.

    1. Merry Christmas, Jen! Is there such a thing as a good snow storm? I do admit that I can be downright awed by a serious rainstorm -- when it comes down as if someone was emptying a bucket? That is cool! But when you add wind and flooding, it stops being cool and starts being scary....

  2. Hi-- was thinking about you today-- hope you and your family are having a good Christmas and that you are enjoying the break from school! I'm finally recovering from a bout of something flu-like that has had me in bed for a week, so hopefully my "break" can begin tomorrow!

    I like the post and I'm thinking of using this prompt soon, too. We do have a lot in common, although I used to love to ski in the dry cold of Utah. Cheers!

    1. Merry Christmas, Melanie! We did have a delightful and quiet day - that works so well at our house. A bunch of introverts with a twist in the 25 year old daughter! The kids were in good moods, we all cooked together, and some very thoughtful but not expensive gifts were exchanged. Sonny Boy ad I went on a post dinner walk - lovely light rain falling.
      I am glad you will get a break now too -- here's to January and the productive time it often becomes.

  3. You and I are a lot alike :) Well, except for the food thing - - and the Obama thing. Other than that, though, we could be sisters!

    1. And differences add spice and interest to friendships, don't they, sistah!

  4. I love #5! I am not much of a joiner either. I always feel a twinge of guilt whenever I'm invited to join a book club. I love to read so much! But, for me, books are uniquely private experiences. would be like getting together and discussing the merits of a lover and I don't kiss and tell. Does that make any sense?

  5. Several of these "nots" apply to me as well. As to what would be easier, listing what I am or what I'm not, I think I've always had a huge problem with being more sure of all the things I'm not than the things that I am. This is an interesting exercise--I am kind of curious about what the logic behind it is. It seems like figuring out your identity by process of elimination. List all the things you're not and you must be whatever's left? Hmmm, thought-provoking.