Who am I anyway?

Who am I anyway?

Am I my resume?

That is a picture of a person I don’t know.

Lyrics from opening number in A Chorus Line the musical.

I have recently read “The Book of Joy” . As my word for 2022 is Joy I thought it was required reading! This is a book with Doug Abrams narrating a meeting in 2016 of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama. I found it a fascinating and thought provoking book. I read at night and I often found I would read before going to sleep and wake up with a new thought about what I had read the night before.

One morning I woke up and it struck me how much of my identity is connected to horses and to my riding. I have no idea why this came to me as a startling new idea! For the past several years, if I have to meet a medical professional, that I do not know, I take two photos of me competing in Florida on Biasini. I don’t want to be pigeonholed into being an older woman who is not very active and probably suffering from an array of “old age” infirmities. Also, when I show the doctor the photos I can immediately tell if they still have me in that “old woman” box or if they see me differently. I can tell you it has been an interesting experience and the doctors responses have ranged from immediately recognizing I was a dressage rider and discussing getting my gallbladder removed in time for me to get to my Florida competition season, to just handing the photos back with complete disinterest.

Woman cantering a  dressage horse in competition . Adequan Global Dressag Festival.
Woman  smiling riding  horse in dressage competition in WEllington Florida.

So since I have been doing this for the past three years why did I wake up and be surprised to realize how much my identity revolves around horses and riding? I’m not sure but I do know that it came from what I had read in The Book of Joy the night before. For me Joy is inextricably linked to horses and riding. No matter what mood I am in when I go to the barn, it is better when I get there and start grooming my horse. I have days when I have a tough lesson and cannot seem to get anything right. But I still feel better for having struggled through it.

So where do I go with this realization? I will keep on riding and trying to do better in those lessons . Several people have asked me if I will be competing this summer. I tell them I do not know. That’s the truth. I have done a lot of competing in the past and have some splendid ribbons from Championships but I’m not sure I need to add more scores or ribbons to my resume. I do know that I will keep on riding and looking after my friend Biasini. And I have not given my tailcoat to the consignment shop yet so I may compete again. Who knows? The featured photo for this post is the famous portrait of Whistlejacket that is in the National Gallery in London. To me he always looks like he is looking right at me.If he is, he is probably wondering why it took me so long to realize that my identity is linked with horses.

I hope to post a review of “The Book of Joy” soon even though it is not a book about horses.

18 Comments Add yours

  1. Pepper says:

    Love that riding is so natural to you that you hadn’t even thought about it defining you. Keep riding, Anne. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Pepper for this comment..it surprised me to find how much of my identify was linked to horses. But I am happy with it 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. J.W.S. says:

    An identification with horses is good aspect of one’s life. Be well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you. I agree 🙂

      Like

  3. Wow i take my hat of to you and salute you for keeping up the riding and interaction with horses. Many would have given up long ago. I agree with you that being with and looking after an animal keeps the body and brain healty. You are the best.

    Like

  4. Neal Saye says:

    Those pictures are stunning, Anne. Keep riding in your joy!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I will for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Laura says:

    I think you’re going way beyond what many older women pursue, you’re horseback riding a very challenging activity, what a triumph! As many people get older they do what is expected of someone their age. Joy isn’t easy for many people to experience, I believe that is one thing people should try to spend more time trying to practice, it changes ones perspective of life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Laura your comment is very much appreciated. Joy does come from within ourselves and we do need to practice it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Prior... says:

    I enjoyed your thoughts so much- Sometimes posts like these allow us to really get to know a blogger more and then little takeaways for us too 🌺like the churning about identity can be ongoing as life unfolds – and loved the opening resume quote!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you! I very much appreciate your comment.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Paula Light says:

    Interesting. I’m reevaluating joy, as so many things here have opened back up & I was in a bit of a social frenzy (for me). Now I must step back and think, hey, what do I really enjoy? What’s worth giving up my alone time for? 💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      I think many of us have been in the same situation with going back to a more normal life.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Michele Lee says:

    A wonderful and insightful reflection, Anne. “The Book of Joy” sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      It is a very interesting book and certainly thought provoking

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Diana says:

    You look so wonderful up there riding Biasini! I’ve not thought of doing that, bringing photos of riding to the doctors which I think is a great idea as so many times they do not understand all that we do and I would not want to be put into that “old lady box” either, no thank you! Lol 😆
    You are so inspiring and now I think I need to read The Book of Joy! I think horses just run through our blood, and there is a bond that only a horsey lover can explain as like you, I may have lofty dreams in my head but just grooming and loving them can be enough some days. A nice ride and I’m in heaven! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Diana. You are a kindred spirit.

      Liked by 1 person

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