I heard this song for the 8-millionth time on the radio the other day, and I decided it was my theme song. Especially because of the chorus:
“I don’t want to beAnything other than what I’ve been trying to be latelyAll I have to doIs think of me and I have peace of mindI’m tired of looking ’round roomsWondering what I’ve got to doOr who I’m supposed to beI don’t want to be anything other than me”
I feel like there are times when people want me to be something I can’t be. I can only be me. And I am a person who loves to laugh. Who is loyal to people I care about. I am protective. I am loving. I am appreciative. I am selfless. I am anxious. I am emotional – especially if angered or upset. I am giving. I am hard working. I am outspoken. I am opinionated. I am me.
It isn’t always easy being me.
And I don’t mean it in a “woe is me” sort of way. I am a good crutch. I am good at helping people get upright again. I have a long history of being a good cheerleader – a good support person. I sometimes wonder if that is all I am.
It’s funny because several people, upon hearing how my first few days of my job ha s gone, commented that I seem to attract the projects that aren’t easy – that have lots of moving part – lots of people who need a kick in the ass – who have people above who also need the kick in the pants. In short, I get the problem projects because, I can get them done. I can deal with people who aren’t easy. I can see the potential and meet the objectives.
It’s not that I like projects. It’s just that I can see through to what should happen – what needs to happen. Whether it is a technology or people. I can see who people are trying to be. I can see what the project is trying to have happen. I can fixate on that – and drive people to that. I have faith it can be done. I believe in things that can happen. I am, in short, good at getting things right-side-up again.
What is hard in both cases – with people and projects – is that once upright – my work is done. I am no longer needed. I do my job too well. I make it easy to walk away.
And in both cases, I realize after that I put too much into it. I cared too much. I worked too hard. I did what needed to be done for positive things to happen.
I never ask for acknowledgement. I never ask for celebration. I never ask for recognition. As an old boss used to say “my reward is in heaven” – it is not why I do things. I do it because it is right.
But it’s also lonely.
It is why even in the project world, I go into my new job guarded. No lunches. No coffees. Conversations are superficial. I care, but I keep a distance. Why? Because it protects me. And each time I drop that protection, I get too close. I care too much. And I’m left realizing that in the end, all we have is ourselves.
I don’t know. I guess I’m trying to reconcile me. I look at my dad – who I am very much alike – and he is a lonely man. He has my mom and his kids and that’s pretty much it. He is the first person people will call if in a crisis. But he is the last person people invite to dinner just because.
I never wanted that for me.
But, it is what I have.
I try not to pull back. I try not to take things too personally. I try to still put myself out there. But my cynical, jaded self is finding it harder and harder.
But, “I’m tired of looking round rooms wondering what I’ve gotta do, or who I’m supposed to be.”