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A TGB Reader Story: Who Am I?

By Rosemary Woodel

I am a woman who no longer has her own washing machine.

I am very lucky to now live close to well-lit places I want to visit because I should no longer drive certain places at night.

I am a photographer and a writer.

I am a person who cries in public but likes to make people laugh.

I am no longer well organized. Where are the framed photographs I took in Ukraine? Did I give them away? Why?

I am someone who just found a comforter under the bed in a box I hadn’t seen for seven months, who “found” a drawer in the bureau which I hadn’t opened for six months. Apricot sheets!

I am the kind of person who spends an hour trying to fall asleep, ashamed of being grouchy to two people. And when I call to apologize, they didn’t think I was grouchy at all. I am a person who has forgiving friends.

I am someone who gave away nearly all the Christmas decorations I had in my big house and now misses having some of them in my small apartment.

I am a person who was highly regarded at white-water rafting this summer but two months later flunked out of the low-ropes course with leftover tendonitis and a possible meniscus tear. For at least four weeks I have to walk up steps with my left leg leading.

I am someone who likes living in a dormitory for old people. I am now a person with a Talbots credit card. Talbots?!

I am a person wondering how long I want to live.

* * *

[EDITORIAL NOTE: This feature, TGB Readers' Stories, appears every Tuesday. Anyone age 50 and older is welcome to submit a story. You can do that by clicking the “Contact” link at the top of every TGB page or at the Guidelines/Submissions page.

Please be sure to read and follow the guidelines before submitting a story. It will save me a lot of time.


I often wonder who I am, enjoyed this very much.

I envision a person of integrity and warmth.

I envision someone creative and curious of her surroundings.

I envision one who takes risks but might pay a price, though small by comparison.

I envision a questioner of life.

I envision a good, interesting person, serious and not, and that's up to her.

I envision someone who has facial lines and eyes of a satisfying life, as she chooses all that she is.

I thank you, Rosemary.

Enjoyed this very much. I'm wondering every day how I got to be this person in this just suddenly sneaked up on me. Dee:):)

Thanks for sharing this, It's so creative. I enjoyed it very much!

This was an excellent post - and part of me identified with each "I am....."

Thank you Rosemary, I really enjoyed this. It struck a chord, it resonated. Thanks.

Simply wonderful, Rosemary. And what an excellent "prompt" for would be writers - for anyone, actually.
Each one of us should take a turn at it. How interesting and varied our definitions of self would be!
I'm sitting down right now to take my turn at it Thanks so much.

Hey, what's wrong with the Talbot's card? I've shopped at Talbots for two decades because the clothes fit. And the clothes last, unlike H&M clothing which may be more "hip."

So beautifully said. And very relatable. I’d like to be her friend.

Lovely! Thank you, Rosemary.

Ann Burrack-Weiss - that would be interesting and equally revealing to ourselves, maybe, as we sought the replies.

So Ronni, perhaps when it's time for a break for you, ummmm.......

Simple, short, evocative story.
It hit me from the very first sentence to the last.
I'll be thinking about it all day.
Thank you, Rosemary.

Thank you, Rosemary
could relate to most of this

Lovely. You inspired me to spend some time thinking about my own "I am" list.

Thank you Rosemary. I am you and you are me.

The last sentence really resonated with me.

I liked it until the last line. I want to live as long as my health and mind will let me.

I think we all wonder who this old lady is that faces us in the mirror each day. Who am I?

I am a survivor and happily so.

This was very thought-provoking and clever, Rosemary. Thank you.

Wonderful story, Rosemary; thanks for sharing.


I can relate, as I suppose most of the readers of this blog can. Life changes so much as we get older and the changes kind of creep in until suddenly you notice them. Thanks for sharing.

Love this! Very creative...hits the nail on the head:)

Thank you Rosemary! I am a woman who enjoyed this creative blog post. I am a woman who could identify with many of the sentences. It speaks to my soul.

I needed this. Been thinking too many I-am-nots lately.

Oh Rosemary, your piece hit me in the gut, like an "oof"! Several times today I have gone back to read it again. Thank you for making me feeling "known".

Thank you, Rosemary
Hit home with me.

I love the dailyness of this. Seems like I now understand I didn't understand before.

Thoughtful and real.

Like an Eagles or Neil Young song.

Thank you for your post. I am. . .not sure who I am anymore. I am definitely in tune with Rosemary's last "I am", but my body seems to be telling me that the answer is "Probably not too much longer".

Beautifully written. Write more, please.

Wonderful story full of honesty and humor thrown in there. This woman knows who she is. So glad she is also my friend!!

Golly, I just found a treasure when I pushed the Comments button. THANK YOU everybody! It means so very much that you enjoyed this essay or whatever it is.


When you think it's time to leave, buy a new camera -- the best you can afford. Learn to use it as well as you use your old Canon. That should keep you going for another twenty years.

As a longtime friend of Rosemary, I was delighted when she told me she'd submitted this. I thought I loved everything about it except the last sentence which jars me every time I read it. But as I've pondered this, I've decided it is a perfect end to this piece because I know she is contemplating this question as clear-eyed, courageously and with curiosity as every other challenge she has faced in her life of chosen and unchosen adventures. Her sense of humor and joie-de-vivre have carried her well through over seven decades and I hope we can weave enough beauty, love and adventure around her to keep her interested and with us at least several more decades.

What fun to see this essay in print. I first heard it in a writing class at the John Campbell Folk School last August and love what Rosemary has added to it since then. Her honesty and sense of humor pervade all that she does. It is a joy to know her!

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