I am me…

I think I am having an early mid-life crisis. I call it an early mid-life crisis because at 34, I’d rather think I have a few more years before I hit the “middle” of my life. But, whatever you want to call it…I was identified by a friend the other day as a “34 year-old mom of 4”. And it struck me to be identified this way, because I just feel like I am me. I am 34 year-old Nicole, from New Jersey, who works at the U and likes to eat out and get to know people.

I guess sometimes when you meet new people they want to put you in a bucket, and the bucket I have been put in is not inaccurate, it’s just incomplete. There is so much more to me than “34-year-old mom of 4”, but I guess when you have had this job of mom for so long, maybe the other parts fade away, or you lose contact with anyone who can identify you in any other ways.  This is especially so for me.  I have no contact here in MN with anyone who has ever known me as anything else. If it wasn’t for my New Jersey friends, who I mostly talk to on facebook, I would have trouble confirming that I actually existed before I moved to MN at age 31.

So, here it is, this is WHO I am…

I am 34. I like being 34. I don’t feel old. I actually feel pretty young, and I look pretty good for 34.

I lived on the Jersey Shore my whole life.  I grew up spending Friday nights at the boardwalk in Point Pleasant. I dabbled in boogie-boarding and still could do it I am sure. I always rode a cruiser bike with no gears, til I moved to Minnesota when I was 31. I fold my pizza, I eat ice pops, not popsicles, lollipops, not suckers, and soda, not pop. Though I won’t fault you for what you call them.

I work at the U of M as a research assistant and have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up because it is a job that makes me think. I want to be a researcher. I’d like to help change the lives of kids in poverty by doing research that will inform education policy decisions and advocate for policies that will actually work.

I love laughing. I love laughing out loud.  If I ever type LOL-I mean it.  That really is what I am doing. I love funny stories.  I love funny people. Laughter is like a drug. And I have had far too little of it in MN, though I am finding more funny people, the longer I am here.

I love baseball. I love the sound of a baseball game, it is melodic.  I love watching baseball, especially if I can get behind one of the teams. But when I can’t watch, I don’t mind listening on the radio. I decided to root for the Twins this year so I can be a part of the local baseball fever.  Because ultimately, I love the game more than I do any one team.

I love to think and debate issues. I thoroughly enjoy the company of others who like to do the same. I like to put an issue on the table and just jump in and tear it apart.

I  love gardening. I love flowers. I walk around my garden in the summer ritualistically and just stare at what I have grown. I also grow veggies, but they frustrate me, so I don’t enjoy them as much.

I love canoeing, hiking, biking and camping. Take me outside, it’s where I would rather be. I used to also love horseback riding but have not had much opportunity for it in recent years.

I love garage sales, good will, and second-hand bargains.

I love dancing.  I don’t do it well, which makes me laugh, so that’s ok but I love to do it. I also love to blast my music REALLY loud in my car, and in the summer I know this is obnoxious, but I don’t care. I don’t like shake the other cars around me with the bass or anything, but it is pretty loud 🙂 .

I love acting and singing and when I was in high school and college I did them a ton. I was a pretty good actress, on stage, not in life. I may give it a whirl again in community theater sometime.

I love books of fiction.  I love a book that can take me away somewhere.

I don’t love TV, it bores me, but I do love movies, especially romantic comedies because they make me remember what that new love was like.  I love love. I am a hopeless romantic.

I love people. I love knowing their stories. I love listening to them talk, because I also love socio-linguistics. I love people watching, street watching, and of late, observing all the folks on public transportation.

I am a mom and wife. I have four kids who think it’s cool to have a “young mom”.

I am this 34-year-old woman, from NJ who loves all the things mentioned above. I am passionate, compassionate, and I am a bit hot-tempered. And I don’t like to be put in a bucket, I like to define who I am. I want to be known for me, not just for my mom accomplishments. Because I am more than that, not that being a mom isn’t great, but that doesn’t get to the core of who I am. I am me.

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