Quite often, when writing a guest post or feature, I am asked to include a line or so about myself. It normally goes something like this:
Jo Middleton is a freelance writer, blogger and mum of two daughters, living in Bristol.
There we go. That’s me.
But is it?
Sometimes I want to argue ‘how can I possibly sum up all that I am in one sentence?’ but then part of me worries that if I were given a freer rein, that I wouldn’t know what to say.
In both a work and family context, we become pigeon-holed. When I think of myself as a child for instance, I think of myself as the clever, cheerful, slightly chubby one. It happens to us all. It gives others a way to define us, and can give us a sense of purpose and of who we are. As a parent, it’s inevitable at least in the early years that having a child becomes a massive part of your identity. It takes up so much time for a start – how could you possibly have time to be anything else?
Sometimes though, you stop and think about who you really are. What would I actually say about myself if I were given 2,500 words instead of 25?
It’s something I have been thinking about a lot lately, as I’ve been putting together my list of 40 things I want to do before I’m 40, and have come to the conclusion that I don’t really know. Instinctively I know I don’t want to swim with dolphins and that I’m not that fussed about bungee jumping, but it is much harder to decide upon things I actively do want to do, to pinpoint the things that really get me excited.
Then I wonder if this is something that many people ever really know. Yes there will always be exceptions – the animator who has been obsessively drawing cartoons since she was four, the surgeon with a burning desire to heal the sick – but how many of us ever discover an enduring passion like this? And does that matter, or is there enough thrill in the chase?
What are the things that define you? Have they changed as you’ve got older? What would go in your one line biography?