5 things I used to be...and one I still am

Because of various opportunities presented to me in the past few weeks, I find myself again and again promoting the notion that I'm qualified for this or that because of things I used to do, things I used to be. More and more I feel like I'm singing an off-key version of Bruce Springsteen's Glory Days, trying to convince the world I once was great...back in the day.

Despite no longer being things I tout, I keep telling myself it's okay to utilize them when appropriate, that the sum of my parts, my past, make me who I am today.

The one I've been utilizing of late is that I used to be the special sections editor at the newspaper. Although a writer long before that, it's the "editor" title that seems to make people take notice. Little do most realize that the "editor" title was just that: a title. No powerful abilities, no magical results. Except, of course, when it comes to impressing folks who might open a door for a writer. So for that thing I used to be, I am truly thankful (but mostly thankful it's no longer something I'm required to be).

There are plenty of others things I used to be.

I used to be shy. Achingly shy. Turn-my-stomach-into-knots-and-render-my-voice-mute-in-the-face-of-strangers-and-authority shy. Until I had children to protect and support in the face of teachers, doctors, coaches, bad boyfriends and more. Being crowned editor helped, too, as with that title came the obligation to speak up and protect my people and publications, my writers and our writings in the face of the newspaper and advertising gods that be...or were.

I used to be one to work with numbers, not words. I worked for mortgage companies, for a major auto finance company. I learned to hate numbers. But I also learned to pay attention to them—and to be a formidable force when it comes to securing a mortgage, even tougher when buying a car.

I used to be a licensed nail tech. Am I now someone with a penchant for perfectly polished fingers and toes? Far from it. But it made me less ashamed of my hands. The hands I used to hide at all awkward costs because of hateful comments made by a sister. Not because my hands became beautifully manicured, but because it's impossible to work on someone else's while hiding your own. So I stopped hiding them. And stopped worrying about things my sister said. And stopped thinking such things mattered at all.

I used to be a Girl Scout Leader. Did it leave me craftier and wiser than the average mama bear? No. But it did give me three life principles I regularly fall back on: 1) Make new friends, but keep the old; 2) Be prepared; and 3) Right over left, left over right, makes a knot neat and tidy and tight.

As the post title says, those are five things I used to be. Five things I am no more.

And the one I still am? Simple: I am a mother and wife, the one thing I've been longer than any other thing.

But that's two, you say? No. Having been pregnant when Jim and I married, the mom-and-wife things go hand-in hand, are one. And it's that one that I've been for the majority of my life and above all else. Fortunately that one thing expanded to become many. The mother of babies, then toddlers, adolescents and teens became a mother of adults. All very different things, but very much the same. The mother of adults become a mother-in-law. Then, of course, that mother expanded (as did her heart) when she became a grandmother...partner to a grandfather. Still a mother and wife.

All the things I once was made a difference, but it's the one I still am that truly defines me, that matters the most. The one that always will matter most. The one I always will be.

Photo: That's my peeps. That's what matters.

Today's question:

What did you used to be? What will you always be?