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Thinking About The Word, "Me" - A Reply To A Question About "One Word To Describe Yourself"

Updated on March 20, 2016

"Me" - When You're Grown Up, Thinking About The Word, "Me", Can Be Very Different From Thinking About "Myself"

When I went looking through the HubPages "Answers" section earlier I'd just gotten back from a fairly long, cold, evening, walk that I took without changing into my warmer, "walking", shoes and without bothering to change the gloves in my bag from touch-screen gloves to regular ones. The touch-screen gloves (at least the ones I have) aren't good for cold because whatever it is that makes them "touch-screen" also makes your fingertips particularly cold when regular gloves (or no gloves at all) would be better.

The shoes out of which I did not change are the shoes in which I most feel like me. They're sandals, but they're more all-purpose sandals rather than very "Summer-looking" ones. They're air-filled and comfortable for walking (as long as the temperature outside is in the 50's or higher, which is was not at any point during the day today. Needless to say, once the sun went down so, too, did the 40's temperature).

When I set out a little before dark on a walk that I knew would end long after darkness had set in I knew that I should add another layer (to the already multiple layers that I was wearing), wear a scarf, change the shoes, and get out of those regular gloves. Limited as my wardrobe may be these days, I happen to have a "zillion" scarves, pairs of gloves in different colors, and any number of things that help prepare a person for a long walk on a cold night. With, however, only a half-baked effort at paying attention to staying warm, I decided tonight to "for once" forget about wearing clothes for the cold and/or the weather and instead wear what let me feel most like "me". For reasons I won't go more into here, I just needed (particularly tonight) to just feel more like me than like the person who dresses for the latest and ever-changing Massachusetts weather-of-the-moment.

I knew how it would go: I'd be reasonably comfortable for a short time, become increasingly uncomfortable as the walk went on, start to regret the shoe choice before even getting to where I was going, and regret any number of choices I'd made more and more as I faced the return walk, more cold, and more darkness. I knew how it would go. It's not like any of it is new to me. I just didn't care. After all, I've finally reached the point that a couple of leg injuries I've been working on for quite some time (years) are pretty much feeling good as new. Also feeling fairly new to me is having the luxury of thinking, "Yes, it's kind of cold out. I'll just walk fast." When it comes to that particular issue I'm kind of like a kid who has just reached his eighteenth birthday and goes a little wild until he reaches twenty-one and realizes how young eighteen actually really is.

And, like that newly minted eighteen-year-old, yes I did regret (more than I'd imagined) a couple of walk-related choices. In any case, once I got back home with my good old keyboard I wasn't fit for any challenges (at least until the hot coffee, dinner, and aspirin kicked in). (I knew I should have eaten before I left but, again, I'd also made that particular choice that I knew I'd also regret but needed not to care.)

There's a reason that I've brought up all this stuff about the walk. The main point here, though, is that I was looking for something to do online that wasn't much of a challenge, and this particular question looked like about as little of a challenge as one might find.

How And Why I Decided To Settle On The Word, "Me"

The only one, single, word I can come up with is "me". It doesn't describe who/what I am to anyone else, but it's the only "one-word" thing I can think up (other than "human", which has been taken, or "person", or"woman" (still doesn't say enough) or "mother" (still doesn't say enough).

I've been through a bunch of "one-words" - my age, my race, my ancestral roots (mixed and therefore too many words). The word, "happy", occurred to me but would really (and I mean REALLY) require a whole, big, mix of qualifiers and disclaimers and any number of other things in order to be accurate. "Sad" wouldn't apply. "Miserable" would - but only in some ways and/or under some circumstances and/or at some times. Maybe "healthy" would (knock-on-wood and as far as I know), but these days I'm not sure I should be too free to claim that one. ("Basically and in all likelihood probably healthy" are more than one word.)

Going through them all, and a few other fleeting considerations, if I were to try to come up with something a little more descriptive than "me", I suppose, maybe, I'd go with "kind". That one's important to me (THE most important, as far as I'm concerned). Still, it, by itself, doesn't say an equal amount beyond just "me"; which leads back to that "lowest common denominator type of thinking" that would leave me with that one word, "me".

"Me" is the word I've been using to refer to myself since I was about two or three (as it is for most people, needless to say). Flawed as I may be in so many ways, and dissatisfied with myself as I am in so many ways, I've worked pretty hard to stay "me" for a little over sixty years now and through a lot of the growing and growing up that not only happens, but that has the potential of moving someone farther away, little by little (or all of a sudden) from that word, "me". When "me" was the first "one-word" to come to my mind I thought twice about saying that, because it seems like such an egotistical, self-centered, word (maybe most appropriately applicable to a two- or three- year old. I realized, though, that to still have "me" be the first word to immediately come to mind, and to still feel (after so many years) I have a right to claim that word as my own, it's not a word that's about ego and self-centered-ness anywhere nearly as much as it might immediately seem.

What Two-Year-Old's Don't Yet Realize About The Word (And Concept) Of "Me"

Just like those eighteen-year-olds who get carried away with their newfound "over-eighteen-ness", two-year-olds can be a little carried away with themselves when they realize that that common word, "me", is one they can claim as their own. The concept of "me" just kind of goes with being two (plus or minus a couple of months, maybe). It's all pretty simple.

I, personally, can't recall all that much about how I thought during those twelve months when I was two, but I can recall quite a bit about how I thought by the time I was three. I don't imagine most people are/were much different than I was at three. By the time one is solidly three years old the concept of "me" has been pretty much ironed out. The word, "me" is an easy word and one that I think those "grown-up" three-year-olds have come to take for granted. They no doubt think about the word, "me", fairly often. They are only, after all, at the beginning of a couple of decades' worth of sorting out a number of things associated with thinking about and/or using the word, "me". I can't particularly recall any one time when I thought these exact words about the word, "me", but if I transport myself back to then I realize what I thought about that simple word; and that was that it was simple. There wasn't much more to think about understanding its meaning, and I looked forward to learning all kinds of other things as I lived each day of being three and eventually hit my fourth birthday.

Obviously, I can't speak for all two- or three-year-old people. (I have a real "Thing" about believing that every member of every group must "all think alike".) What I think many two-year-olds most likely don't realize as they perfect their use of and understanding of "me"; and what many three-year-olds who have come to take for granted that word, and all that it means to them, don't realize; is that the "Me Thing" one irons out in early childhood and gets to take for granted for the "rest of time".

It's both needless to say and a good thing that these little folks don't yet know how many challenges to their "me-ness" they will face long after they've ironed out some of the basics in the small world of a toddler/preschooler.

Just as eighteen-year-old's become twenty-one-year-old's who realize how young eighteen really is; and just as twenty-one-year-old's become thirtiy-one-year-old's who realize how young twenty-one really is; with age comes awareness of what we once didn't realize (and certainly never would have guessed).

From where I am now and looking back, I realize that I didn't have a particularly difficult staying the same "me" that I've always been. What I never would have guessed, however, is how many challenges life and other people would start throwing at me once I'd thought I'd safely arrived in adulthood, still "me". I suppose such challenges are different for each individual, just as "degree of still-me-ness" must be. It's not even so much the challenges that can be thrown at a person who prefers to retain claim to use of the word, "me". What has surprised me more than that has been the "wrath" one can bring upon herself for the simplest and most fundamental of things/words that even two- and three-year-old people so often just get to take for granted.

Another way to look it "me-ness", however, is to realize that if all goes at least mostly well most of us get to practice with being the "me" that we are, but also letting life and/or other people know they aren't about to take that away from us.

When All Is Said And Done, Sometimes "Me" Is More About Reminding Oneself Than Describing Oneself

There are those who would say that embarking on that particular walk without at least changing into other shoes and doing a few things that would have at least made it a little more comfortable just because I wanted to assert my "me-ness" was a matter of cutting off the nose to spite the face (as my mother used to say). People often use sayings without giving them much thought.

It's absurd and sometimes sickening that there must so often be some price for asserting and/or trying to retain one's "me-ness". Some people nurture and encourage the "me-ness" of others. Some, on the other hand, resent it and/or won't even acknowledge it in others. In any case, it's without apology or fear of being seen as self-centered that while, "me" may be the one word I'd use to describe myself; "still me" (although two words) is actually what I'd choose.

Just a few more thoughts about the "me" thing:

As it happens, my first and middle initials are "M.E.". Knowing my parents, I know there's absolutely no way it occurred to them that they gave me such as "self-centered" sounding set of initials. I've been self-conscious about those two initials ever since I've used them anywhere. Obnoxious-seeming initials aside, when I think of that one-word, "me", it never has anything to do with "describing myself" and is always about, instead, reminding myself


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