The only family role that has been entirely my own choice is the one of wife. I enjoy married life because I am fortunate to be married to someone who likes growing older with me, as an equal, with similar values and interests. We are a team.
The angel one and I have different skills, personalities and backgrounds but we enjoy each other's company and are quite familiar with each other's minds.
Identity within families
There are many other family relationships in my life, some closer than others. They include being a daughter, grand-daughter, niece, aunt, step-aunt, sister, half-sister, cousin, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, ex-step-daughter to my father's former wife, ex-step-defacto-daughter to the mother of my vaguely known half-siblings, and there may even be other family relationships I am yet to discover.
The people in my family address me in various ways, depending on my role, their own upbringing, and the nicknames they prefer know me by. None of them know me as Via.
Identity in menial work
Apart from traditional and not-so-traditional family roles, I have a range of ongoing unpaid work roles as cook, cleaner, washer woman, ironing woman, seamstress, gardener, furniture repairer, home decorator, counsellor, family historian, travel planner, budget manager, book-keeping and tax clerk, filing clerk, librarian, news service, purchaser, controller of food supplies, investment advisor, water monitor, energy monitor, caretaker, security officer, and provider of care. Fortunately, I have an unpaid assistant in the evenings and at weekends (the person mentioned in the first paragraph of this blog post).
Other unpaid roles I have performed in the past by choice include being a student, a charity fund raiser, a teacher, a course co-ordinator, a garden designer, an animal rescuer, a government advisor, a poultry keeper, a part-time foster parent, a conservation volunteer, a travel consultant, a film reviewer, a researcher, a magazine editor, a public speaker, a film maker, and a writer.
Some unpaid roles I have performed in the past have not been my choice, especially those that others have expected of me without my permission, such as provider of free information and advice, hospitality provider, and childcare provider.
Identity in unfulfilling paid work
Even some of my paid roles have been performed under varying levels of duress, especially those where money was my main goal. They have included being a farm labourer, a kitchen hand whose main job was to do the washing up, a waitress, a cinema usherette, a receptionist, a data processor, an audio typist, and a secretary.
It was not until I had the opportunity to go to university, when I had already reached my early 30s, that I discovered that I had intellectural abilities well above average. My schooling had not provided me with the environment in which to explore and express my potential. Nor did university, but at least it gave me the confidence to expand my horizons and reach for higher goals.
Identity through higher goals
A higher goal is to produce something of lasting value to humanity (not just for yourself or your family). At the same time, it would be nice to receive an income for being productive. This is why social enterprise is such an important pursuit in today's world. It is not about being in poverty while meeting the needs of others. It is about creatively meeting one's own higher needs while helping others to meet theirs.
Some questions you might like to ask yourself include: Which roles do I perform? What am I already doing that is of lasting benefit to humanity? What are my higher goals? How much time can I allocate towards meeting my higher goals? Who might share my higher goals? Why is it that not everyone shares the same goals as me? How might my entrepreneurial potential be enhanced?