Liz Wolfe | self exploration
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A hot cup of coffee. Crispy, almost burnt toast. An uncomfortable sense that I’m already behind in my day. The only thing missing in this flashback to my childhood is the sound of bleating lambs coming from the basement, awaiting their breakfast. I half expect my mother to turn the corner into the room, berating me for still lingering at the table instead of mixing up their vanilla-smelling milk concoction, made from powered Real Imitation Milk.

"He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it." Clarence Budington Kelland I saw this quote posted on Facebook on Father’s day. It reminded me of my father right away. He is a simple man, low maintenance, you might say, never wanted much more for himself or for us than to be happy, whatever that looked like. Although he did do some telling us how to live, actually, but the advice was always stemming from his love and care for us.

I ended 2013 uncharacteristically grumpy. I felt on the brink of tears or anger for much of the last couple of weeks of the year, without really being able to identify why. I found it depressing to look back at the year, knowing I didn’t accomplish all I wanted to, finding small solace in the few milestones that I could recollect. I’m not quite sure where I think I should be by now, but my feeling of dissatisfaction lingered and made me an unpleasant person to be around.

When you think about your vision, do you think about what your life will look like in the future? Do you envision big houses, fancy cars, leisure time, committed relationships? Perhaps it’s a bestselling book, notoriety in a professional field, or a bank account constantly flowing with money that swims in your imagination. If your idea of your future is more low key, do you see yourself sitting around drinking coffee with your family and laughing? Going to school or learning to do something you always wanted to do?

I have two older sisters - two brilliant, creative, beautiful, expressive and overshadowing older sisters. As the youngest, I came up behind them in school and had many of the same teachers. I endured them calling on me in class by “Jennifer” and “Ruth Anne” or being constantly compared to their talents, their schoolwork, and their grades. This impacted my upbringing so much that for my college admissions essay I wrote about an interaction that my friend had:

One day, a friend of mine told me a story about having gone to see the school nurse. This particular nurse is the type who knows almost all the students and loves to talk. During the time Mary was in the office, she mentioned that she was friends with one of the “Wolfe Girls.” The nurse was delighted. She said, “Oh, yes! Ruth Anne is so wonderful. She’s so talented and smart and is a wonderful actress. And she dances so well!”