Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Subtle Shift - Part I

As a young woman, I was full of...myself. Adolescent ego centrism was a perfect fit.

I went to a small high school and participated in everything. I was in drama, speech, music, sports, student council, academic clubs, etc. I was busy all week and every weekend. I liked to be in charge and boss others. Vice president of this. Captain of that. Co-chair of that too. I arranged things and had ideas and wanted to be in charge.

I spoke up - loudly - in class and at meetings. I had an opinion and liked to share it.

I entertained thoughts of a political career as an adult. What fun it would be to boss around the masses.

As a young adult I chose a career path in social work. I liked action, service, and helping others. Later deciding that education would be a perfect fit.

Here I am, 13 years out of high school and surprised sometimes to think of the young person I once was. I find myself a much quieter adult. Much happier to work behind the scenes, taking directions from others. I don't like to plan things. I am not an organizer.

I will still speak my mind on certain topics that I feel strongly about. But I am not an activist, I do not start things. I am happy to volunteer to help with things that others are organizing, but I do not jump to be the chairperson of anything.

In a crowd, say at church, I find myself sitting quietly while the noise hums around me. An introvert as opposed to extra. Content to sit back and watch others chatting and networking. I've tried more than once to figure out when the switch was turned off.

I think life has sucked the leader right out of me. I have yet to decide how I feel about that.

Eighteen and planning to change the world!



Anonymous said...

It takes more than volume to be a leader. Or so I tell myself as I screech at my kids to, "DO WHAT I SAY, I AM THE PARENT!"

The BEST leaders are ones who've got a calm center and strong core of beliefs. Sounds like you are a leader -- but one that's more nuanced than you were 13 years ago. But you are still a CUTEY! Love that photo!

Beck said...

You're adorable in that picture!
I think that adult life teaches us that subtlety has its virutes, too, that there is something to be gained by listening.
But I am often haunted by the idea that I am less now than I could have been.

Mama said...

Watch out that spirit will return and be useful just when you need it. It may be when your school decides kindergarten should only be in session 3 days per week or when a boy sitting behind your daughter in English class repeatedly whispers "You're a F---in B----" every day in class and when your daughter reports it she is told "Oh just ignore him." or it may happen when your Ad Team at church says "We have to stop all this mission collecting. People are getting tired of it." That may stir the seeds that were sown in your youth and may sprout into an "activism" that will astonish you.

Aliki2006 said...

I also love that picture!

You know, I think this is all a natural process of life, especially when we become parents. I felt as if I wandered away some from who I was when I was in my early thirties. But now that my kids are growing older and I'll be forty this August (yikes), I'm finding that I'm reconnecting with that person I was. I think as long as we don't grow so far from who we were that we no longer recognize ourselves, then some wandering along the way here and there is normal, and important.

MidwestTwinGirl said...

You are still a leader!

I sometimes wonder if we pull back a little after high school because we spend so much time trying to reinvent ourselves and find our place in college.

A lot of very staunch activists that I know now were the loud and annoying kids in high school that no one listened to. . . I think they became activists just so they have something they can loudly complain about and people might actually listen.

You are still a leader OM! You just follow the "speak softly and carry a big stick" principle. You wait for the right moment to raise your voice because if your voice is always raised, people will have learned to tune you out.

Mimi said...

Weird, my high school gown was burgundy too. And I'm sorry, but I have to tease you about those shoes. Just a little bit, and with a smile!

Hm. I was a lot like you in high school. I am trying to not be so bossy as has been my natural tendency, but still find myself in charge a lot. It's exhausting and I feel self-conscious. So I dunno.

Omaha Mama said...

Ahhh, the shoes. You should see the dress! Navy blue, rayon, floral print ala 1996. Rock on.

Midwest Beach Girl said...

I was going to cure cancer. Really, I loved science and genetics.

I look back at me 10 years ago and I just had so much to learn about life. But I do remember my good looking older cousin that I wanted to be like so much. (Seriously, you made a basketball jersey and jean shorts look feminine and trendy in your senior pics!)