When I was in seventh and eighth grades (junior high to some of you) I was in a school choir.
And even though all us guys thought it much more manly to be a baritone–or at least second tenor–I was squarely a first tenor.
Years later somebody suggested I had a bass voice, and they were surprised to hear I didn’t sing bass.
But why would I? I was a first tenor.
Except, reality is: I wasn’t a first tenor anymore. I’d just never bothered to figure out things had changed.
Sometimes we let things from childhood define us far longer than they should.
I’m not sure we do it maliciously. In many cases we just let a definition set in, and never think to re-evaluate it.
I wasn’t in an organized choir after eighth grade, so there was never another proper evaluation of my voice and where I belonged. I didn’t think much about it, and just went with my last-known assessment: never mind how long ago it happened.
Amusingly, even when evidence began mounting that I wasn’t a first tenor anymore, I still doubted it.
I was told more than once I had a bass voice. It seemed so strange to hear. I wasn’t buying it.
Sure, it was harder on my vocal folds to sing the same part I always sang during worship to God. Didn’t matter. I’m a first tenor.
Sure, I could sing the bass part without strain, and hit lower notes than I imagined I could. But I’m a first tenor.
When we accept a definition for ourselves, it gets hard to allow a later re-definition…even when the new definition is accurate.
It took me a long time to get there, but now I sing bass. And my voice and throat are thankful for it.
So how about you? Are there any definitions you accepted a long time ago that aren’t accurate anymore? When’s the last time you thought to check?
Here’s a good way to get started on this: What good things do people say about you that you have trouble believing? What have others encouraged you to do, but your knee-jerk reaction is “That’s not me” or “I couldn’t do that”?
It might be time to update your dictionary.
To your growth,