If you could be any person in the world, who would you be, and why?I thought about this for half an hour this morning and came up with several scenarios. They are: the shallow-ish pop culture answer, the save-the-world answer, the wow-she's-amazing answer, and the honest answer.
1. Shallow-ish pop culture answer is...Ellen Degeneres. I've thought she was the funniest woman around since I saw her on an HBO special in the mid '80s. I read her books. I watched her TV shows. I cackle every time I watch her interview anyone. She's smart, adored by millions, wealthy, married to a beautiful person she loves with her whole heart, dedicated to several worthy causes, has a quirky, fun wardrobe, and isn't afraid to be herself.
2. Save-the-World answer is...Steve Jobs. Yeah, so he's dying of pancreatic cancer. Not so fun. But what an incredible story. He's responsible for creating an awesome company, Apple, that has changed the way we live and communicate and connect(next time you walk down a busy street, count the number of iPods or iPhones you see). He's the former CEO of Pixar Animation -- my 5-year-old is eternally grateful for him for bringing to the big screen Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Cars, to name a few.
I hear he's something of an aggressive egomaniac. But I also hear that he respects creativity and doesn't try to second-guess artistic genius. Jobs once told someone he was trying to lure away from Pepsi-Cola to run his company: "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water to children, or do you want a chance to change the world?" If I had his intelligence, money, fame, power, and track record, imagine the possibilities.
3. Wow-She's-Amazing answer is...my friend Anne R. We've only known each other a few years, but I feel like I've known her a lifetime. And yet every day, it seems I learn more about her vast array of interests and talents and get another glimpse into what a special, treasured human being she is. She recently went back to school, even though she already had perfectly fine degrees and career skills, to pursue a passion. Now she's helping save lives and make them more comfortable and enjoyable.
She also bakes and sews and knits and writes, loves reading, can chat you up about politics or current events or arts and culture. She dedicates her skills and time to nurture friendships, care for critters, and make the world a better place -- no matter how hokey or idealistic that might sound. She makes me laugh (and snort, on occasion). She listens with an open mind and open heart when people need her to, and she gives so much to so many. It's hard to capture in words on a screen what a significant difference she makes in everyday life and in the bigger picture. More than once, I've thought, what a wonderful place a place would be if everyone were a little more like Anne.
4. Honest Answer is...me. So you're thinking what kind of cornball, feel-good, nutcase answer is that?! The more I got to thinking about the question, the more I realized that I'm not inherently unhappy with who I am or where I've been or where I'm going. I love my husband, a talented photographer with a wry sense of humor, passion for cycling and nature, and unwavering ability to put up with me when I'm at my worst. I adore my son, who makes me want to simultaneously shower him with kisses and pull my hair out. I enjoy my dog, even when she's barking incessantly at bunnies she can never catch or stealing my underwear from the clothes hamper. My parents are still healthy and happy. I'm employed, which in this economy is definitely something to celebrate. I have friends who make me laugh, make me cry, make me think, make me grow.
Sometimes I wish I had a housekeeper. I wish I could get skinny and stay that way. I wish I had enough money to give to all the charities who need assistance and still have some bucks left over for new kitchen flooring, a hot tub, and a Caribbean vacation. I wish I could find the time and motivation to write a book...and not think, the whole time, about whether I'm wasting my time because it'll never get published. I wish I didn't care so much what other people think about me. I wish I had more patience with my kid. I wish there wasn't so much meanness in the world. And almost daily, I wish it wasn't so hard to get happy and stay that way.
So I don't really want to be anyone else. I just have many hopes and dreams and wishes for the "me" I'm stuck with.