The People We Never Were (And Probably Never Will Be)

Change is in the air. We’re in that awkward time of year when it’s still super hot out, but the evenings are quickly becoming cool. When stores are a mess of back to school fashion and bathing suits on clearance. It’s not quite Fall and it’s just barely still Summer.

For over-achievers like me, this means it’s time to make massive to-do lists (before school starts), vow serious life-style changes (no more desserts) and dream about reform and organization (alphabetized bookcases!). Oh, the great plans I have made…

Here’s my off-the-top-of-my-head list for the next week: clean out closets, organize desk, print and frame pictures, write letters to parents and grandparents, learn the Hindi alphabet, finish paperwork, figure out a new phone plan, write future blog posts, read three books, organize our calendars, make homemade pesto, deal with the scary pile of stuff in our bedroom, and spend time with as many friends as possible. And this is meant to be on top of work, ministry, marriage, exercise and sleeping.

The person I strive to be everyday is, I think, mythical. She’s athletic, funny, smart, quadra-lingual, sexy, organized, generous, crafty, punctual. She hands every thing in early, she makes homemade bread, buys local and organic. She doesn’t support slavery, has her hard drive backed up and has finished decorating her apartment. She doesn’t need sleep, doesn’t need caffeine and never gets distracted by social media. This is the person I fail to be everyday. This is the person I will never be.

The strangest part about this is that I’m fairly efficient and a hard worker. But I’m also effusively social and spontaneous. And I do love sleep. So I climb into bed every night, staring at piles, listing off tasks un-done and willing myself to wake up earlier and try harder.

And you know what? I’m tired of it. I’m tired of being mad at myself for not regularly (ever) sanitizing fridge drawers and for not continuing to learn German. Varun, my wise and encouraging husband, says I need to remind myself of who I am in Jesus. (Remind me to print and frame something like this). And you know what? He’s right.

Knowing who I am gives me the freedom to recognize and accept who I am not.

I’m not the kind of person who mops her floor much. (Much means more than 1 X in 6 months).

We’re not the kind of people who get excited about sports events like the Olympics or Superbowl, nor do we know the difference between the Oscars and the Emmys.

I’m not the kind of person who can succeed in any DIY project. I don’t paper maiche, I don’t find cupcake recipes off of Pintrest and I’m never going to open an Etsy shop.

I’m not a schedule person. There is no “We usually eat supper at…”

We’re not the kind of people who go shopping together. We don’t go on dates to the mall. Or the farmer’s market. In fact, one person in this couple buys the clothes for both of us.

I’m not the kind of person who replies promptly to emails. I have emails starred for reply since April 2011.

We’re not pop culture people. Don’t expect Varun in skinny jeans or me to know more than one Nicki Minaj song.

I’m not the kind of person who remembers birthdays, gets cards to you on time or sends gifts. This goes for Christmas too: there aren’t mass mailings of Christmas cards or handmade gifts.

We’re not a super romantic couple. (Am I allowed to say that?!?! This is an upcoming post topic). Of course we love each other and have a blast together. But there aren’t a lot of long-stem roses and little black dresses happening here.

I’m not the kind of person who wipes out the kitchen sink. Or cleans my trunk. Or vacuums my car.

Whew. This was super freeing. I could go on, but then you would fall asleep on your keyboard. And I don’t know if you’re the kind of person who cleans their keyboard or not, so best not to drool on your laptop.

What about you? What kind of expectations, ideals, habits or virtues do you not have/meet/possess? How do you manage your self-criticism and frustrations?


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alice
    Aug 28, 2012 @ 13:11:37

    Hey – loved that! Reminded me of my blog post I did for Miranda’s blog a while back, though mine was more a mommy-ish perspective, since I’m currently more mommy-ish :-). Which I have to remind myself to remember everytime I get down about myself …. It’s great to keep encouraging each other and reminding each other about what’s important.


  2. Miranda
    Aug 28, 2012 @ 14:28:55

    Holy smokes! Did you just write this for me? Except I would add this to the who-I-am-in-my-mind list: actually blogs regularly.

    Also, you did remember MY birthday, which is special to me. =)


  3. Naomi
    Aug 28, 2012 @ 15:29:10

    Amelia, I love reading your blog. It’s always refreshing and encouraging to read something so heartfelt and honest, not to mention I get to feel connected to you when you’re so far away.

    It’s so good to be reminded that no matter how much we strive we’ll never meet our own expectations of ourselves and thank GOD it’s not just me! Funny how, as much as we know we’re not alone in this, we tend to forget and get caught up in our own sense of failure comparing ourselves to those we perceive to be more on top of things than ourselves. Which, in effect, isolates and alienates us from each other, clearly not what we are called to nor is it very much fun. I need daily (no, hourly!) reminders of where my true identity lies. I’ve thought for a while that I should frame some of these reminders in my home, just one of the the DIY projects I left stranded on a list months ago. :P Fortunately I am often reminded through no efforts of my own.

    “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

    xo, Naomi


  4. Sarah
    Aug 28, 2012 @ 19:12:42

    I think I could have written this blog post word for word! It’s good to know I’m not the only person out there who struggles with thinking I should be X and really only ever being able to be Y. I rarely mop, my desk looks like yours, I don’t remember the last time I went to the mall and I’d much rather be having a nap :) Great post Amelia!


  5. sylvia thompson
    Aug 28, 2012 @ 20:34:10

    I really enjoyed this…have to admit i’ve struggled with the who- i- am -not -but -think -i -ought- to -be for years. But now I am curious: what kind of people are you? I’d love to read another blog post telling me more about what kind of people you are and what you like to do


  6. Patrick
    Aug 30, 2012 @ 10:02:34

    Awesome post, Amelia!

    Your use of the word “people” rather than “person” in the title says it all. We get this expectation that we’re supposed to be a full-time SuperSpouse, EmployeeoftheMonth, Straight-A-Student, HappyHomemaker, BestsellingAuthor, SavvyShopper, SocialMediaManiac, etc. when in fact it would take a Downton-sized staff of “people” to be all our sometimes wicked imaginations expect of us.

    The irony is that as wholesome and charitable and WWJDish as these activities may be, the expectation that we accomplish everything on our bloated To-Do lists is not.


  7. Jen
    Aug 31, 2012 @ 22:33:35

    Love this post! I think I’ve read all your posts albeit not so regularly (so sometimes I binge read, which is delicious in and of itself!). I too love your candid, honest, funny, refreshing (and fresh!), candid, and great way of documenting your own experiences, which are quite tangible and relate-able for us, your readers, in their generalities, if not in the details. Great writing! :)


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  9. Peter Scholtens
    Oct 04, 2012 @ 09:37:28

    We’re not culture people either. Who’s Nicki Minaj? lol


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