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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

How would you describe yourself in five words?

The other day, I came across this quote from Nora Ephron:

“We have a game we play when we’re waiting for tables in restaurants, where you have to write the five things that describe yourself on a piece of paper. When I was [in my twenties], I would have put: ambitious, Wellesley graduate, daughter, Democrat, single. Ten years later not one of those five things turned up on my list. I was: journalist, feminist, New Yorker, divorced, funny. Today not one of those five things turns up in my list: writer, director, mother, sister, happy.”

Alex and I often talk about how people's lives can be divided into distinct chapters— I'm curious, how would you describe yourself in five words at this stage in your life? Today mine might be mama, writer, friend, sleepy, loving.
P.S. Another brilliant quote from Ephron: "I have a theory that children remember two things—when you weren't there and when they threw up."

104 comments:

Angela said...

Oh man! I think I'm going to do this, just to see how I end up in a few years. Another sweet idea I've heard is to come up with a word of the year for yourself to keep you grounded and centered when the going gets tough over the course of that year. I like that better than New Year's resolutions.

Joanna Goddard said...

angela, i LOVE that.

Cat at OddlyLovely.com said...

I love this! What a great quote from Nora. The five words I'd use to describe myself might be content, creative, girlfriend, dog mama, social media marketer.

Kathryn Sutton said...

Love this idea! I think mine would be PR, girlfriend, Londoner, blogger, happy.

Kat | http://thelondonplaybook.wordpress.com

Trina said...

Introvert, adventurer, museum lover, auntie, beloved. :)

Alexandra Sanda said...

This is a great idea :) I think I would write explorer, writer, creative, single, content.

christymclark said...

I definitely believe people have distinct chapters or seasons of life. Right now I am feminist, student, girlfriend, wanderluster, and happy.

ale norris said...

love this! i want to pick my 5 very carefully...i think they'd be: happy, motivated, wife, baby-grower, adventurer.
and looking back at those 5, i am pretttty satisfied :)

Joanna Goddard said...

"content." i love that, alexandra.

Isa said...

loving, mama, insecure, confident, hungry

Lindsey Lowe said...

I did (for the first time) the word-for-the-year thing, and I chose "brave." Though I'm actually thinking that could be my word for life :)

Right now, I'd pick lover, remarker, joyful, learner, and...clumsy :)

Arsız Böcük said...

Unemployed, free, confused, in transition, married

Kate M. said...

What a great game! Mine would be: Freelancer, wife, pregnant, designer, ambitious

Mandy said...

What does it say about me that while I wouldn't worry about describing myself as a wife or mother if I was that, describing myself as "single" sounds kinda sad? Is this the product of being in a society that tends to celebrate family-related occasions over solo ones (where is my "you graduated from grad school shower" with registry, gosh darn it?!), or is this just my own issue? Deep thoughts. ;)

To be more breezy, the five words that would describe me now are: independent, loving, adventurous, easy-going, career-minded.

moseyblog said...

Interesting how it changes! Let's see
thinker, mama, loving, writer, sensitive

m lou said...

The world is a better place for having had Nora Ephron in it...

Lana said...

Mommy, neurotic (I have a four week old and a four year old - I worry about EVERYTHING!!) exhausted, stressed...you know what? I'm opting out of this right now. I'll come back to it on a month when not smack in the middle of newborn haze and my adjectives are little more positive. Lol!

shawn said...

Love Nora! What a great lady. I love that this is something that will revolve with time, as well.

Today, I would say that I am: creative, happy, Californian, married, and reflective.

Erin said...

Mama. Wife. Researcher. Joyful. Tired.

I love pretty much any quote from Nora Ephron. Amazing lady.

eljohnny said...

I love Nora Ephron. My words would be strong, curious, thinker, lover, friend.

Isabel Magnasco said...

Mother, photographer, friendly, creative, curious

morestomach.com said...

this is my favorite post of yours in awhile.

mine are:
introverted. self effacing. hungry. full. in transit.

Sarah O'Brien said...

my sister and I speak in movie quotes nonstop unless something really serious has happened in the family. It keeps the mood light and the conversation usually ends in laughter. This is one quote that needs to be put in the vault, I love it!

My five words at the moment would include: Curious,Librarian,Adventurer,Passionate and Girlfriend

Taylor said...

I think this is great, but hard. Mine would be dreamer, creative, financial analyst, dog mom, silly.

Ask me again in 10 years... or even 10 minutes!

Kiana said...

It used to be :Friend, sister, mother, reader, lover of tea.
Now instead of reader, it's watcher of too much TV.

MelanieKPrice said...

Designer, mama, wife, friendly and busy.

Nora Ephron is awesome! Love her writing.

upwithjoyblog said...

Love this!

I think mine would be: mother, wife, walker, introvert, joyful

Roseann Bath said...

Mine would be photographer, wife, nanny, friend, free. And I love that last quote about children. I remember puking as a child! But I'm pretty sure my mom was always there.

Kelly Ramstack said...

Adventurous. Loyal. Sensitive. Impatient. Hopeful.

Emily Dara said...

one distinct thing i remember from middle school was throwing up and calling for my mom only to hear "why do you think i'd want to watch you throw up?" That said, I'm 26 and my mom mails homemade chocolate chip cookies almost once a month to my office halfway across the country.

Jenna | The Eighty Twenty said...

right now I would say homeowner, bride-to-be, stressed, broke and lucky .... it's quite the chapter!

Kizzy said...

What a great idea, I will try this and in 10 years look back and see if they are the same.

Lauren E. said...

That last quote kills me. So true. My dad always says, "You called out 'Mom!' for everything except when you had to throw up. Then it was 'DAD. I DON'T FEEL SO GOOD!'"

Lee Taylor-Penn said...

Wife. Friend. Over-achiever. Introvert. Foodie.

Unknown said...

What great posts today! Much appreciated. Thank you!

Rachel Strauss said...

I'd say college, friend, loving, young, and learning. I like to think about what my family and friends would choose too :)

teafortwotimezones.com said...

So many words floating through my head based on the past and present. Top picks would be:
1) Explorer
2) Loyal
3) Softie
4) Creative
5) Friendly

I remember doing this exercise in grade school. Wish I could find that art project and see how things have changed or stayed the same!

Rachel Strauss said...

I'd say college, friend, loving, young, and learning. I like to think about what my family and friends would choose too :)

Megan said...

I love this! I think I would say: in love, Washingtonian, twenty-something, fundraiser, happy.

Sort of along the same lines (ish??), I recently had a birthday and a coworker told me that her family has a tradition of asking "What is your birthday wisdom?" to the birthday boy/girl at his/her celebration. And the birthday boy/girl can share whatever they wish with everyone -- advice, their triumphs or defeats, their big takeaway for the last year, etc. Then, the family keeps a record of it in a birthday wisdom journal! I LOVE that idea and definitely want to start that when I have a family someday.

Audrie said...

I love this! I'm going to get my husband to write down 5 things too and we'll revisit in a few years :)

Mine would be: creative, content, partner, loved, inquisitive

MaxandLaura Shiffman said...

smart, capable, adventurous, happy, loved

J. said...

Typically I feel confined by these type of activities, but this one is more flexible and I like the way it changes over time. It's something I would want to keep in a journal with my new year's resolutions as an annual exercise. Would be nice to look back on. Thank you for the idea!

anniematic said...

I have to admit, I felt underwhelmed by your word choices! Sleepy?!?! How about entrepreneur, New Yorker, traveler, creative, fashionable, blogger? I admire a lot about you that did not make the list.

Joanna Goddard said...

annie, you are so sweet! sleepy was kind of a joke because i am DYING OF TIREDNESS TODAY. but yes, entrepreneur is a good one for sure....i was going to put curious but then sleepy overwhelmed it :)

Megan said...

It's been ten minutes since I posted and I've already amended mine! Whoops. I can't imagine ten years from now...

in love, Washingtonian, twenty-something, compassionate, grateful.

Joanna Goddard said...

hahaha megan me too. now i want:

entrepreneur, curious, mama, reader, oenophile :)

Ariella said...

To @anniematics point, not only is this a fascinating exercise, but take it one step further and ask what your partner or friend would say about you. We see ourselves so differently sometimes.

Jennifer Ong said...

This is brilliant - you always come up with such great posts that are all at once so random and so relevant!

Five words I'd use would probably be - young, ambitious, lost, adventurous and loving.

I'm writing a blog that would help fresh grads who are just starting their careers navigate the "life" aspect of work/life and you have been such an inspiration :)

www.thatworkinglife.com

Carlien said...

Curious, driven, nature/cat lover, independent, social

Aanna Greer said...

Haha! I love that people are switching their words already. It just shows how complex each person can be. But I also really love this exercise because it forces you to spend some time thinking about the things that make up who you are. I'm sure I'll want to change my choices in five minutes, but I think mine are: lover, mama, writer, graceful, and learner. Thanks so much for your wonderful content, Joanna and Caroline!

Anjula Montgomery said...

Tired, mother, artist,cook,talented

Melissa Blake said...

What a coincidence, I just wrote about where I see myself in 5 years on my blog today. It's important to take stock of things every once and awhile.

My five words: Blogger, daydreamer, happy, nosy (the good kind...) and grounded! :)

Joanna Goddard said...

ariella, that's such a good idea.

dc said...

Loved, Happy, Contented, Fit = Grateful :)

Cappuccino in the twenties said...

Great idea!! So many words through my mind, but I consider myself as a sensible, enthusiastic, smiling, marketing adventurer and creative.

I've asked that question millions of times through job interviews and it was always a difficult one. Today, I take some time to think, so, thanks so much for that reflexive moment Joanna!

Gina said...

Actress, dreamer, highly sensitive, positive, twenty-something.

Diana McNeill said...

Loyal, excited, tired, intelligent, open

Hillary Humphreys said...

Sister, daughter, writer, reader, cook. I love this.

bagandspoon said...

Great idea! Me in 5 words: traveller, optimist, Londoner, friend, independent.

Emma @ bagandspoon.wordpress.com

Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs said...

I love this!

De Kinnerstuuv said...

Oh, that is so simple brilliant! The first five descriptions that jump me in my head: mother, creative, optimist, restless, cosmopolitan. I'm going to try that with my seven year old girl, too! I love the last quote! Have a lovely day!

Nina said...

Omg am I the worst mother ever that I didn't think mother as one of mine? Sigh...I've had a long irritated day. Mine that came to mind immediately were: funny, smart, driven, loving, sensitive. As a side note I do the word a year - mine this year is CELEBRATE and its cool because the post office had celebrate stamps for new year's (saw them after I picked the word) and I'm reminded everytime I use them! :) I think I'll ask my son what his five are for himself.

Megan M-R said...

I remember The Happiness Project suggesting we choose a single word for a time period and seeing how it can help us expand, or feel comfort, or whatever you hope it will as a theme for the year. I think it's a great idea. I'll have to think a bit about mine... :0

http://www.gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2010/12/choose-a-theme-for-next-year-maybe-even-just-one-word/

Jenni Ross said...

I love this! Something we did with a group of friends was to have everyone write one word that they thought of every other person. Then, we read the words to each other- it was incredible and I still have mine. The words for myself would be loving, bubbly, adventurer, entrepreneur, philanthropist.

melissa loves said...

So great....love this idea so much.
mine would be: mama, best friend, artist, reader, happy
xo
Melis

Amanda said...

This is great! I am a high school teacher and we are exploring identity right now and I am going to use this in a lesson tomorrow! Thanks for the idea! Love it.

Amanda aka MamaRobot said...

That second quote is hilarious!

girlseeksplace said...

This is so intriguing.

I think my five would be: reader. writer. daughter. eternally exhausted. lost.

Joyce Y said...

I really love this idea! I would describe myself as nice, wife, loving, researcher, and creative. I asked my husband to describe me and he said "smart, naive (!!), lovely, cute, and caring"...

www.whatajoyfulday.wordpress.com

Susan M. said...

Love reading all these entries. So hard to come up with something that feels right. Mama, that's the easiest. intellectual, writer, lover, sensitive. Of course I'll change my mind about these 4 in a short while. Also, I'm conveniently leaving out my bad traits. Harder than twitter. I thought it was interesting how Ephron first described herself in political terms and then moved away from that.

NeatoKeen@Etsy said...

Today I am mom, empty nester, collector, coffee fiend, wife. This is one of my favorite posts ever.

Lindsey said...

newlywed, cat mama, dreamer, procrastinator, happy

coloradoloveaffair said...

How fascinating! Right now I'd choose wife, mama, young, awed, and full.

Joy said...

Daughter, observer, thoughtful, loyal, homebody.

Not necessarily in that order :)

Hayley said...

I love this! So much. I especially love that it lends you to change and evolve and to be conscious and appreciative of that.

I think mine right now would be.. wife, entrepreneur, seeker, yogi, cocktail enthusiast

ays said...

Right now, I'd have to say: Married, daughter, friend, practical, dreamer.

I do have a guiding word for the year: Mindful.

It's helped me with the decisions and thoughts I've been making this year.

Lauren Michelle Miranda said...

This is such a beautiful idea. Today mine would be lover, reader, introvert, happy & tired.

Lauren x

Ruthie Rose said...

Love this idea - neat to see how life changes you. We might describe ourselves as sassy, sweet, wife, working women and entrepreneurs. xo - R&R

Cheryl G. said...

Ten years ago:
Working. Mother. Creative. Wife. Stressed.
Now:
Sick. Struggling. Caregiver. Grandmother! Dreamer.
Ten years from now (I hope):
Alive. Overcomer. Artist. Married (in January we will celebrate our 29th anniversary so in 10 years I hope we will be celebrating our 39th!). Loved.

Jojo said...

Let me see... I used to have 'Happy, healthy, loved and busy' as my profile description - but that is only 4 words, and that was 8 years ago. Now I think I would go for Wife, Mother, Impractical, Grateful, Creative.

I have done the OLW (One little word) thing for years too - My favorites were Selfless, Breathe and Imperturbable. But they were more goals and guidelines than descriptions. ;-)

Linda said...

Word at the moment: patience

My 5 changed drastically 2 yrs ago when I met my hubby.
Girlfriend, foodie, anglophile, disciple, adventurous

Nina said...

This is a great idea. I am so going to do this. At the moment it would be organized, mother, wife, writer, optimistic.

Best wishes
Nina
http://ninaitwanina.blogspot.co.at/

Sweets & Style said...

Beautiful article! I would describe myself as: happy, funny, supportive, open-minded and friendly.

Little Giant said...

Such a great post. I plan on linking it from my post for an inspirational monday series. Thanks so much!

Jaimie L. Moore said...

Totally did this today on my blog linking to yours. Thanks for the idea! Am 32 weeks pregnant. Plan on revisiting my Five Words in five years.
xo.

506miles said...

Fabulous article, it's amazing looking back over the years how we change and grow. Mine would be writer, reader, dreamer, adventure, shopaholic! ��

Meadow said...

Hmm this is kinda tough!! It's hard to not over-think this... being brutally honest is hard. And it depends on one's mood too, I think. And only 5 words.. aaah!! Introverted, frustrated, worrier, determined, impatient. Those words describe my current state of mind... I am on the brink of a huge life change (moving countries). I'm impatient because it's not happening yet... certain things need to be in place first. I could add so many not so positive words into that mix right now... I'd say those five capture me fairly well right now, though. And I totally agree with her quote on the kids remembering those two things. Spot on!

wanderlustywriter said...

I love this. Right now: reader, writer, girlfriend, uncertain, wanderlusty

Daniela said...

Girlfiend, vegan, student, introvert, happy.

Andrea Enright said...

So fascinating! I think I'd have to go with wife, wandering, spiritual, creative, hesitantly hopeful.

www.andreaenright.net

smash said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE that last quote. There is nothing kids can tell you more about than the last time they threw up. Or when their sister did. Or their dad. Or their dog. They can't get enough.

Alice said...

Right now: mother, writer, adventurer, loved, strength.

Mindful is my word for the year, no, decade!

I love how what others wrote makes me consider where I'd like to be down the line, or where I've come from.

And I'm already reconsidering...maybe lover not loved. Or devoted. And that's interesting too - why the edits?!!

Shannon Kline said...

Wife. Dog lover. Honest. Sensitive. Seeker.

Emikos Werid Unexplained thoughts said...

student,new yorker,cat mom,blogger,homesick

I think that's me forever at least all but the last one

Anne said...

This is a fun challenge.

By the age of 25 I would describe myself as: Ambitious - politican (I'm the vicemayor and a member of Aarhus City Council) - student (I have just started my Master) - adventureous - girlfriend (I have currently been together with my boyfriend for more than 2,5 years).

Great post Joanna!

Style Sprinter said...

Life-Loving Perfectionistic Kitten Snuggler :)

http://stylesprinter.com/

Christina said...

Happy, loved, free, stretched, protective.

Brigette Olmos-Arreola said...

Love Nora! This is such a good way to see where you are and also your growth.

twenty-everything.com said...

I love this idea! I am 27 and my five would be: driven, focused, happy hungry, friend, and single. Thanks for sharing!

Sarah Spitz said...

searching, on my way, watcher, student, chaotic

Love the idea...
great to remember how life was back than..

Love from Germany and the fatcatconnection
and have a wonderful weekend

http://lasagnolove.blogspot.de/2014/09/have-wonderful-weekend-and-spend-it.html

folkloriat.com said...

Interesting little assignment! Love seeing everyone's words. Right now mine are: Entrepreneur, wife, homebody, curious, hopeful

Sammi Egan said...

I did this the other day for my ex- boss, he asked me if I how described myself had changed & I said no, I'm still awkward, sarcastic, blunt & introverted but I'm also incredibly loyal.

Chelsea @ Chelsea Eats Treats said...

Love this! I would choose: Daughter, girlfriend, puppy momma, hard worker, fitness fanatic

Kelsey said...

I unknowingly did this exercise the other day while creating a landing page for my soon-to-be-new website and listed "mama, wifey, soldier, CrossFitter, creator".

A few of those seem contradictory at first, but they fit.

This was fun. I'm totally borrowing it!

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