It’s day 26 of Blogvember. I’m following the prompts from Andrew Canion, which can be found here.

Over the course of my life, I’ve been filled with aspirations to be like others I admire. This changes from one day, week, or year to another. When working with patients with swallowing disorders, I wish I could be like the mentors I’ve identified (most often, unbeknownst to them). Perhaps it’s the many women who helped me understand the fundamentals of speech and swallowing anatomy and physiology. Perhaps it’s the man who pioneered much of the research into the role of oral health to swallowing function.

When interpreting, I wish to be like the Deaf mentors and Deaf interpreters who are always teaching me when they don’t realize it. Their vision, and their perception, make me challenge what I see and make me strive to improve.

When training on Ninja obstacles, I watch my peers and coaches and wish I could do what they do. But I don’t have their strength, or their body; I have my own, and my body has been teaching me what it can do right now, and what it can’t yet do. It has taught me to go at my own pace, and that with patience and consistency, I can develop my own skills.

In so many areas of my life, I want to fill the shoes of the people I admire in whatever it is I do. But I am me, and the only ones whose shoes I can fill are my own. Try as I might, I can’t become those I admire, but I can use their wisdom and generosity to inform who I am and what I do. Lately, I have realized just how many people, from all walks of life, influence me. A mortician helps me learn how to think about death, and in turn, life. Graphic designers have helped me think about design in ways beyond nice imagery and graphics. A fabulous hair stylist has taught me the value of taking pride in the work I do, not to mention a surprising amount about business. A tidying expert has changed how I, a sentimentalist at heart, relate to my possessions.

My shoes are one of a kind, because they are made up of influences seemingly at odds with one another, and yet working in harmony because they are all influencing the same person: me. And while I will no doubt catch myself wishing otherwise at some point, I am grateful that these are the shoes I get to wear each day.