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I was in a work training a few weeks ago with one of our corporate trainers–I actually like the gal–we’ve become good friends over the past five years or so.  She’s funny, she’s outgoing–you come across those people in life that are best described as a dynamo–endless energy–totally the qualities one would want in a trainer, for sure.  

At the start of this particular training seminar, she asked the participants to introduce themselves…maybe describe a little about yourself…and tell the others something about yourself that they wouldn’t know otherwise–like, unless you told them.  I understand what she’s trying to do here.  She wants people to start talking, so that we don’t just sit there all day, not interacting, spaced out, glazed over–she wants people to engage.  To her credit, she started the attempted discussion, so she participated in the exercise. 

I hate this stuff. 

I understand the reason we do this is to get the conversation started.  What do they call it?  An icebreaker?  So I’m just sitting there, running through a list of snarky, inappropriate things to say–just varying degrees of salaciousness.  Hi, I’m Paul, I get life direction through telepathic messages from my cat.  Or Hi, I’m Paul, I’m stockpiling food and ammo for the eminent zombie invasion. Or one I particularly like:  Hi I’m Paul, I work here because I outgrew my career as a professional midget wrestler.  My guess is that all of them might get me sent to Human Resources for a discussion or two.  

So I rack my brain to come up with an answer that isn’t too totally smartass, and attempt to politely get past this portion of the program.  But while I’m sitting there in my mildly comfortable conference room chair, I start pondering the question. How would I really describe myself?  I hate to jump to the morbid, but if I was to write my obituary, what would I say?  Would it be something I wanted to read?  Would I be able to write things that would make me proud?   To what level do I attempt a description?  Physically?  Emotionally?  Spiritually?  

I’m not sure when I last looked into the mirror and took a real good assessment of who I was.  And what I look like.  And how, on whatever level, I would describe myself.  

Let’s start with the easy part.  Physically, this should be a simple question.   If I was describing myself to a police artist, I would start with the obvious.  I’m taller than average–about 6’3–but the body type–that’s the hard part.  My knee-jerk reaction is to say ‘heavy set’ or ‘big boned’ or some other phrase that your mom would use to describe you without actually calling you FAT.  (Personally, I’m not entirely sure what having big bones has to do with having a beer gut at eleven years old, but people seem to accept the description if it comes from your mother.)  I would use ‘stocky’ but I think that’s the male equivalent to ‘curvy’ for women.  It’s a nice way to say she has big boobs, but she’s also carrying an extra forty pounds.  “Stocky” says he has big shoulders and a big gut.  Not sure that works for me.  I wouldn’t say I am fit and trim, nor am I slender…maybe a few pounds over average…but most definitely, I am healthy.  I have dark brown hair that’s starting to turn grey.  My beard is already grey, but as long as the hair on my head stays there, I don’t care so much about the color.  My eyes are light brown; my nose is messed up from too many fights, paired with my inability to duck.  On a scale of one to ten, I think I’d put myself at 6.73.  A solid number.  About a ‘C’ average in the looks department.  I am satisfied with that.  I think I have the average American look.  That’s a good thing–I’m average in many ways–I like classic rock, Coors Beer, and small block Chevy Detroit Steel. 

I guess appearances aside, just looking at the attitude or the Inner Paul, if you will–I’m kinda cynical.  I swear I’ve been working to change this.  I have a sarcastic sense of humor (shocker, I know) and despite my best efforts to change, and be a little gentler, a little kinder–bottom line is that I am a realist, and try not to lie to myself or others.  With respect to intelligence, I think that although I’m not college educated, I have a decent amount of common sense, and I consider myself fairly smart.  My white-collar career can attest to this. 

Emotionally…hey I’m a guy.  That’s a tough one.  I guess I’m outgoing, but admittedly, I tend to have my feelings hurt pretty easily–at least in non-work situations.  If I’m in a professional atmosphere, it’s not an issue–but with friends, I do take things to heart.  On more than one occasion, I’ve been described as soft-hearted or sensitive.  Sorry folks, but being called sensitive as a guy is a bit off-putting.  I know it’s not supposed to be a bad thing, but it’s just about up there with being called a wuss.  Other than that, I think I’d consider myself emotionally stable.  Not full of drama, don’t particularly like drama, nor do I get overly excited about bad news.  

Spiritually…whoa boy.  That’s another toughie.  I consider myself a Christian, but I don’t regularly attend a church.  I try to live my life by doing the right thing, and I don’t feel the need to go to a worship service.  It makes me feel like too much of a hypocrite.  My beliefs are pretty personal, and I’ve never understood the desire to share them in a group setting on a Sunday morning.  I am also a strong believer in Karma.  I take comfort in knowing that evil seems to be corrected in some way, and that’s its only a matter of time before that correction happens.  Kinda like Joe Pesci in Goodfellas when he takes a 22 slug behind the ear–ultimately, the bad guys always get it in the end.    

The interestingly introspective thing about describing yourself and really taking a personal inventory is that it keeps changing.  I am so different than I was five years ago–not just physically, but on all levels.  If you’d asked me five years ago if I would have been having this kind of thought process, I would have laughed.  Maybe this is just part of the human condition, constantly evolving–or maybe, just maybe, God forbid–its part of maturing.  I hope that’s not the case.   I mean at 44 years old…why start now?

Paulie

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One Comment

  1. why did you stop blogging? I hit 200 lbs off a few weeks ago 🙂 hope you are well.
    Stacia


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