Home > Communication, Family, Friends, Learning, Reflections, Relationships > Not that person anymore

Not that person anymore

When my just-younger sister considered where to pursue graduate studies, I advised her to go away. “It’s good to be around people who see who you for who you are, not who you were. It gives you a chance to grow into your real self.”

When my mom died, I wish she’d had a like chance to go away and find who she was apart from what others expected her to be. I wished this all the more reading one of the comments on her guest book from a former friend who suggested she was the only one who “got” my mom, when what she got was the tiny sampling her particular perspective allowed her to see.

Sometimes I have an exchange with someone that leaves me perplexed. I feel as if we are having two different conversations before it hits me: They are talking to who I used to be.

I am not that person anymore. Parts of her will be with me always, but with time, experience and reflection, they become lesser parts of a greater whole. It’s strange to realize I am being seen for who I was before: before I learned, for example, early last year that health comes above all else, or that some discussions are best held privately-even when begun publicly–the year before that, or, even earlier, that motherhood suited me more than my younger self could ever have dreamed.

On my wedding night, my now mother-in-law laid out worksheets asking attendees things like, “What are your three favorite things about the bride?”

What surprised–no, shocked–me was how many people called me a good listener. When did that happen?

But then I think: Maybe that is just a reflection of living what I know now, which is that you can’t know for sure who someone is based on what you knew of them before. Maybe when people think of me as a good listener, they get the sense that I am trying to hear them and see them as they are now.

Because I am. That is where we live, after all.

Not then.


  1. January 28, 2014 at 4:58 am

    Yes, you are a good listener and even very accurate at reading between the lines.

  2. January 28, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Yes, yes, yes! I’m grateful that, honestly, I have very few people in my life who “knew me when”, but those that did also know the me of today. They seem to not look back, and for that, I’m grateful. But, in that regard I also believe that like-minded people gravitate towards us as we come into our own more and more….it’s a beautiful transformation. Could you be any more amazing, Deb? Probably! XOXO-Kasey

  3. January 28, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Don’t you think we become what we admire?

    I want to become more like you!!

  4. January 28, 2014 at 11:32 am

    This one really got me thinking! I went away to college and didn’t look back. I have a friend now that makes fun of me for losing friends as I journeyed through life, making several interstate moves. I try to explain that whenever I moved it was difficult to keep up with friends across the miles and varying time zones. Through your post I see it may be more about who I was becoming than just the lack of physical proximity. I decided to let the old me go when I moved in favor of a new, better me. I guess I decided I didn’t need any reminders of the old me, which I now see may point to the fact that I didn’t give some people a chance to accept the new me and relinquish the old. And now I question, have I done this?! Hmmm. Thank you again for your touching words.

  5. Andrew
    January 28, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    It’s weird to run into old high school chums. Or, worse, old teachers. I have the dubious pleasure of encountering this since I work as a cashier in my hometown. It’s amazing what people remember about you that you might have forgotten about yourself. I try to be patient because they haven’t been there for my series of religious conversions, struggles with depression/anxiety, various epiphanies, college, or any of that. Especially since I am generally a private person and “quiet”.

    The self is a fluid entity, after all, and people who haven’t been watching the stream are going to have a lot of catching up to do, haha

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