ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Know Yourself

Updated on December 18, 2017
cam8510 profile image

Chris practices free writing which often produces humorous or introspective results with practical applications to living life more fully.

Sorry, the bathroom mirror is the only mirror in my extended stay apartment in Albuquerque, NM.
Sorry, the bathroom mirror is the only mirror in my extended stay apartment in Albuquerque, NM. | Source

Who Are You?

Tell me about yourself, said I to the man in the mirror. He just stood there staring back, of course. We both continued staring for a while and as we did so, I had a few thoughts run through my head.

Who Am I?

Who is that man in the mirror? Who am I? There are a variety of ways to define ourselves.

  • Occupation.
  • Nationality.
  • Race.
  • Gender.
  • Marital status.
  • As a Parent.
  • Who we know.
  • What we know.
  • Where we’ve been.
  • What we’ve done.
  • Wealth.
  • Politics
  • Hobbies

These aren’t inconsequential things, but are they who we are? Do they define us? Probably some of them do to an extent. Marriage and parenthood are good examples.

Sunset over Lake Michigan

Sunset over Lake Michigan
Sunset over Lake Michigan | Source

I am the father of two grown sons. Oh how I loved raising those boys. I used to try to grab a nap in the afternoon on weekends. I’d lay on the couch and pull the blanket up over my head and doze off. The boys couldn’t resist messing with me. I’d lay perfectly still until they got close, then I would shoot my hand out from under the blanket and grab them. I’d pull them under the blanket with me and they would laugh and fight to get away from the couch monster. That was me, the Couch Monster.

We lived near the beach on Lake Michigan. In fact, my wife’s Grandma lived on waterfront nearby. I would take our big, cabin tent down to the beach and set it up so that the door faced the water. We were shielded from the city streets and noise by a house, trees and a few hundred yards. Lying in the tent or sitting by the beach fire, we may as well have been in the wilderness. In our minds, we were. But the boys are grown. I’m still their father, but the couch monster is gone.

I was the husband of a woman you would have adored. She was simply the most wonderful part of my life. She’s gone now. No, not by divorce but by cancer. It’s been five years and eight months. How can that be? When a spouse passes away, part of us dies too. Marriage actually did define me. Being Sandy’s husband said something about me. I suppose that’s what is meant by two becoming one. But I’m not a husband anymore.

For fourteen years I was either in college preparing for or actively involved in Christian Ministry. I was in a Christian college for four years, a missionary for three years, and a pastor for seven years. I preached, taught, counseled, cried with, married, buried, sang, testified, prayed and evangelized. But I’m not a pastor anymore. In fact, I hold only to the loosest concept of a deity these days. I choose to let him/her/whatever be what they are rather than what I dictate them to be through theological dogma. That’s what I do, not what I think you should do. But I am not in that profession anymore.

Now I am a laboratory technician. I travel around the country from lab to lab filling in when they are shorthanded. I like it. It pays well, and I get to see a lot of the country this way. But it doesn’t define me. It’s what I do, not who I am.

I'm Not Defined By What I Do For a Living

Me at work, doing what I do
Me at work, doing what I do | Source

I think that the concepts I’m looking for, ones that define who a person is, are ethereal, not physical or even emotional. They are spiritual. I don’t mean that in a religious way, but in a non-material way. They go with me from place to place, from time to time in my life. They have been with me in some form for my lifetime. These are the things that define me. Here are some of these ethereal qualities that I have identified to greater or lesser degrees in my own life.

  • Adventurous. I don’t simply like to go camping or kayaking. I want to explore.
  • Integrity/honesty. Now this one has been frequently AWOL in my life, especially when I was drinking. These days I’d rather just be transparent. It is so much more peaceful, both inside and outside.
  • Selflessness. That’s a tough one when you are like me. I am single, I live on the road. I spend a great deal of time alone. The consequence is that I find I am very self centered, self absorbed. I have to force myself to talk to others about them rather than about me.
  • Generosity. Am I willing to part with my wealth for the good of another human being?
  • Edifying/encouraging. Do I enrich the lives I come into contact with or do I drain people emotionally?
  • Contemplative. I really do try to see past the superficial, shallow world around us. There is a rhythm, a hum to nature as though it were a machine at the center of all that is, creating beauty, splendor, romance, kinship of man to beast to realm. I spend time with her, listening to her, trying to understand.


from someplace between who I once was and who I am becoming

As I returned from the realm of introspection, I was still standing in front of the mirror. The same man stood staring at me, as if to say, “Did you want something, or can I leave now?” I let the old boy go. As I turned away, I summed up my thoughts.

I am not a reflection in a mirror. I am real. I exist, and I am becoming. These are the concepts, the ideas, though ethereal in nature, that I am interested in these days. Since I don’t have a specific home base, I choose to refer to myself as being from someplace between who I once was and who I am becoming. In that regard, I have to set aside the expectation that I will wake up one morning having BECOME. No, for me, in this lifetime, I will always be becoming, growing, learning. It’s what makes life worth living.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)