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On more than a couple of occasions I have had a plane delayed, and sometimes cancelled after a long delay, so I’ve chosen to write using the Weekly Writing Challenge.

There’s work you and home you, café you and hospital you, friends you and strangers you. In this week’s writing challenge, tell us about a time when two or more of your “yous” ran into each other.

My mes run into each all the time. but not as often as they used to. They are easier-going now, too, so they don’t clash a lot.

The problem is that I’m retired, and that enables me to blend my selves together more seamlessly.

When I was a teacher, I tried to behave in a professional manner, and to be as decisive as possible; to not change my mind once I’d make a decision. I tried to weigh my words carefully to students so that there was as little confusion or criticism as possible. I tried to be direct and diplomatic, and as “fair” as possible, which sometime means putting more heat on some students than others (then they think I’m being unfair). (It’s hard to win some days teaching!) Obviously I watched my language, but an occasional “damn” slipped out when I was having trouble getting a computer or program to operate successfully. (I was the computer teacher.) You know how frustrating computer can be!

This contrasts considerably with the real me, who has anxiety issues and somewhat-controlled ADD and often has trouble making the simplest decisions even about ordinary things, like what to make for dinner, whether I should go to Macy’s today or wait until tomorrow, should I wash the kitchen floor or write my blog?…  I am medicated, so that helps, but I also have to maintain a self-imposed schedule to help me not dilly-dally about this and that.

When I was younger, there were more mes. I lacked self-confidence, so I was reticent “to put myself out there”. Here, too, I received help. I worked for a big trade association in Washington, and I had a boss who had more faith in me than I did. He would force me into situations where I had to introduce speakers at conferences, present ideas at meetings, and talk to “higher-ups” around the country on the phone organizing campaigns etc. So by pretending I could do it, I learned that was more capable than I thought, and it helped me a lot.

There was also the me who wanted to please people — so I pretended to be happier and more cheerful in social situations. My husband used to tell me he could see the difference when we were out somewhere, and it wasn’t necessarily a compliment — perhaps more of a question.

I know what I like and don’t like, and if I don’t want to do something I say so, but sometimes I have to compromise, or simply understand that it’s important to another person that I comply. At least, I express my opinions; it took a long time for me to learn that I didn’t have to do something just because someone else wanted me to do it. People-pleasing is exhausting, and not always fulfilling.

Getting older has allowed me to be me; I’d rather that people see the authentic me, than some mask. I try to be truthful, tactful, friendly, and kind — but also state my opinions and hold my ground when necessary.

I wish I’d known myself better when I was younger so I could have enjoyed being me for more of my life.

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