I’ve always struggled with what I wanted to be — occupationally.
I wasn’t one of those kids who declared, “I want to be an astronaut.” Then wah-la, grew up to be an astronaut.
Nope. When I was much younger I wanted to be a model (the clothes!) and the president (I was a bossy kid.).
In that order.
As time went on, the reality of my genetics seemed to naturally preclude my potential supermodel status without me having to give that particular job a second thought. And, well… growing up to be the president lost its sparkle, too.
Around my senior year of high school I still didn’t know what I wanted to be.
“What are you going to major in? I know you’re only 17, but what exactly would you like to do FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?”
I remember thinking, “Yeah, I really need to create some sort of life goal.”
I’d heard it before: “Find what you love, then do it!”.
Talking. Is there a major in talking?
My name is Kylee and I’ve been communicating since birth.
My Mom likes to tell the story that after she had me, the nurses would bring me back from the nursery to be with her in the hospital room and she always knew her baby was coming because I’d always be making a clucking noise with my tongue and it would echo through the hospital hallways trumpeting my impending arrival.
It appears that I haven’t shut it since then.
I’ve been jabbering since infancy, through toddlerhood and right into elementary, junior high and high school. During my school years, I have more than several times been physically moved by more than several teachers to different locales within the classroom in misguided attempts to convice me to stop chatting with my “neighbors”.
I wasn’t deterred.
I had so much to say and so did they.
If the teachers moved me next to boys, I’d talk to them. (Hello, I have three brothers. I’ve had ample experience talking with them and their friends. I liked me some boys. Talking to them = no problem.)
Some teachers even made the sizable error of arranging my desk as a sort of appendage to theirs as a last-ditch attempt to punish me and keep me from chatting. They erroneously thought, “If I sit this child next to me, she’ll shut up.”
Wrong, Mrs. Shipman. (My second grade teacher was hell-bent on taming my tongue.)
See, unlike my 8-year-old cohorts, I liked adults. Talking to my adult teachers was right up my alley.
The only time one of these moves could be rendered successful was when in the 6th grade. I was placed by myself. In the back of the room. In a carrel.
To me, a carrel was like solitary confinement is to a prisoner.
I didn’t function well in the carrel. I was closed in. I was lonely. It was hot in there! I needed to talk. I needed to listen. I was bored. I needed to communicate.
It should appear as no surprise that I went off to college and graduated with a degree in communication. Ambiguous, sure? Perfect for me? Absolutely.
In college I learned that communication was more than me talking. It was about relationships in and out of the workplace and the power of the written word, the spoken word, and more importantly: the words that sometimes go unsaid. Communication is vastly [and excitingly] vague… and awesome. I learned quite a lot, but…
…I also graduated without a clear idea of what exactly I wanted to do.
Hello, square one.
“What are your goals? What do you want to be? What do you want to accomplish?”
Um. I want to have solid relationships with people that I’m proud of. Can I get paid for that?
[insert losing buzzer sound — ehhhhhhhhh.]
Making friends doesn’t pay the bills, big girl.
From there, this became my manifesto: It’s not what you do, it’s who you are.
My value isn’t directly correlated to what I do to pay the bills. Neither is yours.
Nope. What we do is merely a facet of that bright, shiny, conflict-free diamond that we are.
It’s what we are that’s important. It’s who we are…
I realized that my life’s motivation, my purpose, was the relationships that are created along the way… Those are what it’s all about.
It was a JACKPOT moment that still resonates with me some 12 years later.
Relationships? That’s where my heart is.
My jobs have been cool, yeah, whatever, fine — I like what I do, it’s true. But the people? Oh boy, there have been some amazing individuals interwoven into the rich quilt of my life.
And when I take a minute to assess and reflect, sure there are plenty of accomplishments that I’m proud of and some that I’m not so proud of, but I’m left feeling whole not because of what I have done but because of who I have known.
Because of those relationships I’m full.
So here I am, 32 years later, still at it.
I need to talk. I need to listen. I need to communicate.
I’m thankful for all of the years that I’ve been able to listen to, learn from and communicate with so many life-altering people — in the physical world and in the blogging world. (I’m talking to you.)
I’m thankful that I’m no longer trying to figure out what I want to be.
Instead, I know who I am.
My name is Kylee and I was born to talk.
Thanks for listening.