In my lifetime I’ve had several identities. Born with a rare blood disorder I had a clear difference from all the other children I knew. It gained me a lot of attention and I took pride in educating others about my disorder. I had a role to play at a very young age and rules I needed to follow. I knew things other people, even adults, did not. I was also a student and a pretty good storyteller. What set me apart from other children was that I knew how to successfully live with blood that did not clot.
It wasn’t until I got my first job that I felt I had another persona. I was a librarian as well as a person with a rare bleeding disorder. I could now help others in both of these roles. Later in my life I was a care-giver for my parents. I didn’t think about my purpose in life until I was no longer employed, no longer a care-giver, and most amazingly no longer a person with a rare bleeding disorder. Even though most would consider that all great news, I felt some perplexity about who I was now.
It was then that I began to consider what makes life worth living. I believe most of us construct meaning with what we do, how we help others, and what stories we tell. Luckily there are still lots of things I can do, others to help, and stories to tell.