Making space for the me I am now

Potentially Problematic

Making space for the me I am now

Time seems to pass quicker as you get older, and that overwhelming feeling of being lost grows. More often, I now find myself asking the cliche question: Who am I?

I know the fundamentals: I’m a mother, a sister, a partner, and a friend. But who am I, really? 

I used to love going out with friends. I used to love baking. I used to love experimenting with food. I used to paint, draw, and play games. There was joy around leaving the house even if it was to go sit in someone else’s. There was fun in reading a book or watching a movie. 

Now I find myself staying in, rewatching old movies, and declining plans that feel like too much work. Does that mean I am no longer me?

I used to be a fiery personality, always up for a fight, ready to defend myself and others. Now I’m much happier walking away and only arguing with a clearer head. I used to have a large group of friends that I did everything with – now I find myself with two at the most. 

Is it me? Did I make it hard to be my friend? Or have I changed the parameters of what it means to be my friend?

I vaguely remember who I used to be, and I know that I am no longer her. I am not entirely sure when this shift happened, but it was probably somewhere between losing my mom before I was ready, becoming a mother and suddenly being responsible for a little human, or uprooting my life and moving countries twice in six years to end up back in the UAE. 

Dealing with all these changes in a short span of time didn’t leave much room to process and evaluate how it was changing me. Then again, we hear that this comes with age and responsibilities, both of which are impacted by the choices you make – in my case, having a child.

I compare myself to those around me, going out, having fun, with loads of friends and loads of time. I tried to fit in and be one of those girls but that doesn’t fit into my life anymore. 

 I still love to make people happy, I love to make them smile, I love to cook for them, bake for them. I still enjoy a good book and the occasional new movie. I see my friends when I can and want to. I’m happy to do the things that once brought me so much joy, but only if they fit into my life.

I could make more time for the old things I loved, I could make more of an effort, but the energy required to do so is energy I need to invest elsewhere like raising my daughter, working full time, doing my nails and…well, maintaining my sanity.

Understanding this and accepting that my life has shifted and morphed into something new took some time. It was hard to accept at first because no one else saw it for what it was but for me it was freedom. Freedom to do what I want to do without feeling guilty or like I wasn’t doing enough. It was strange taking ownership of my life without taking everyone else’s feelings into account. Where I am now is fulfilling in a new way, a different way. It’s natural. It fits.

If you’re feeling lost in who you are, stop moving. Stop living for other people’s expectations of what a 20-something is supposed to be doing. Stop showing up for people out of guilt. Focus on the things that truly make you happy, the things that truly matter to YOU because only you can decide who you are or who you want to be.

So for now I am me. I am a homebody rewatching old shows. I am the mom who sometimes bakes – and now I have a little helper. I am the friend who shows up for birthdays and special occasions. I am the sister who won’t go to the club with you but will bring you water the next morning. I am the partner happy to sit and watch you play video games while I write something. I am me.

Who knows who I’ll be in the future, but for now, I am me.

*In this new monthly column, Sherilee Khan will explore motherhood, womanhood and life through her own eyes. Stay tuned. 

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