The Person I’ve Become

personal brand

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About a year and a half ago, I read Lisa Montanaro’s blog post, Looking at the Woman You Are Through the Eyes of Your Younger Self. It sparked my interest and I bookmarked it with the intention of leaving a comment after I’d had more time to think about it. Then, not surprisingly, I forgot all about it, until I read my sister’s recent post, “When I’m Sixty Four”.

Both posts compare the writer’s current life with the way she’d imagined it as a teenager, and have inspired me to do a similar reflection.

Janet Barclay being pensiveI assumed I would be married, and I am.

I assumed I would be a home owner, and I was for over 20 years, but not anymore.

When I was much younger than a teenager, I told my sister that I didn’t want children, only grandchildren. Being older and more worldly-wise, she told me it doesn’t work that way, but I’ve proven her wrong. I’ve never had my own children, but have been a stepmother to my husband’s boys since they were little boys. And now they’re grown men with children of their own who call me Grandma (or will, when they learn to talk).

I didn’t have a career goal, but knew I didn’t want to be a secretary, and had no interest in the field of financial services. My first job after graduating university was in financial services, and I left that position to work as a secretary (which was every bit as horrible as I thought it would be).

Although my dad was successfully self-employed from the time I was very young until he retired, I had no interest in having my own business, and felt that my husband should have stable employment as well. It might not have surprised me that I’d start a part-time business just for something to do, but I would never have predicted that my part-time business would later become my full-time career, and that my husband would eventually come and work along with me.

Of course, my current business wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for the internet, and the impact it has had on all of our lives is incredible. It’s hard for me to believe that kids who are in high school now have never even known life without the internet or cell phones.

This discussion brings to mind one of the last conversations I had with my mother, shortly before I turned 40. I said that I’d always expected to feel more “grown up” by this stage in my life, and she just laughed, because she felt the same way at 70. Even though we’re constantly learning and growing, I guess deep down inside, we are who we are and that doesn’t change. I’m not sure if that’s reassuring, or scary.

One thing I’m learning as I mature (I refuse to say I’m getting older) is that I have choices, all kinds of them.

Gestalt prayer

This message was reinforced by another blog post I read recently, The One List You Should Get Rid of Today, by Allison Millard (no longer online). Sometimes we can knock ourselves out trying to be the person that others expect us to be – or even that we expect ourselves to be – but we really don’t have to.

Is your life the way you thought it would be?

Casual Photo of Janet Barclay

Janet Barclay

I eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, cooking, watching movies, drinking tea, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Kathy Stinson on May 1, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Janet, I enjoyed your reflections here. When I started to type that sentence, I was thinking of your thoughts about who you’ve become, but quickly realized that ‘your reflections’ applies to the photo by you as well. I’m so glad you found a place to share that one in such a meaningful way. I’m also tickled that the photo I took of you recently happened to fit so well with this blog post. And I like who WE, as sisters, have become!

    • Janet on May 1, 2016 at 8:34 pm

      When I was writing the post in my head, I thought about friendships in general and our relationship in particular, but somehow I missed including it. I don’t know if either of us would have anticipated how close we would become. xoxo

  2. Barb Julian on May 1, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Remembering both of our younger selves, it is a wonderful thing to see how it has all worked out so far. I wanted to teach music, and did for most of my career. I never thought that I would still have the skill to be playing in orchestras today. I imagined that I might be the bass player in a folk rock band or big band (and I’ve done that too). Nobody could have predicted that I would be playing piano (and a bunch of other stuff) in church every other Sunday…least of all me! I assumed marriage would be part of my life (35 years in August). Children, yes. Grandchildren, yes. Travel, yes,yes,yes. I count my blessings regularly with the gratitude of one who made mostly good choices and has been fortunate enough to have family and friends who love me and I love them back. Today, now, life is good. Looking back, I guess my dreams came true.

    • Janet on May 2, 2016 at 12:12 pm

      It’s so great that music continues to play such a huge role in your life – and that you share that passion with Kirby. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing!

  3. beverley on May 2, 2016 at 8:10 am

    what a great read jan i really enjoyed it love bev

    • Janet on May 2, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      Thanks, Bev! xo

  4. Lisa Montanaro on May 8, 2016 at 8:48 pm


    I am so tickled pink that you were inspired to write this blog post after reading my post on the subject of looking back last year. And I love that your sister wrote a post recently that reminded of mine. Serendipitous for sure!

    You and I have a lot in common. I never wanted children of my own, but love being an auntie to many. Love that you managed to figure out a way to become a grandmother without being a traditional mother!

    I also never had any interest in owning a business, especially when I was a lawyer. I would say “God no, I don’t want to own a law firm!” And yet, I love being self employed. Just had to find the right type of work!

    The photo you included with your blog post is so lovely. It shows your personality and is so authentic. I really love it. I read that your sister took it. Even better.

    Thanks for reflecting on yourself from the wiser, more mature woman you now are, but with a nod to that young girl you once were. I am flattered that you mentioned me and my original post and I so enjoyed reading yours.

    Warmly – Lisa

    • Janet on May 9, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      I’m just floored by all the wonderful comments I’ve received on this post, both here and on Facebook.

      I loved Kathy’s post, because of the clever way she tied it to a popular song, because of what she wrote, and because it reminded me that I’d wanted to respond to your earlier one.

      Not all the thoughts that went through my head made it into the published post; some were too personal to share publicly, and others I just forgot by the time I sat down to write it, but all in all this was a very interesting exercise.

  5. Neena on May 25, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Hi Janet,

    What a wonderful post – it is nice to know a bit more about the person behind the name.

    Congratulations on your growing family – I think modern grandmas play a much more active role than just making cookies for the grandkids.

    Sounds like you are going to be very busy!

    • Janet Barclay on May 26, 2016 at 9:44 am

      Thank you, Neena! Becoming a grandmother is one of the most wonderful things that’s ever happened to me.

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