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I Am, I Love, I Cry, I Worry, I Try, I Wonder, I Hope

I Am, I Love, I Cry, I Worry, I Try, I Wonder, I Hope

I Am Awesome

My wife handed me my 9-year old’s report card. Looks fine. Better in math than English. Good. Then I saw this large black and white photo of my son with a clear plastic film stapled on top of it (overlay) with text printed on it. It read:

  • [my son’s name]
  • Resident of [our street address]
  • I am awesome, funny, and a good friend
  • I love soccer, traveling, and reading
  • I cry when someone dies
  • I worry that math will be hard this year
  • I try to get better at soccer
  • I wonder if I’ll get more friends
  • I hope that I’ll learn in school

I had to read it over a few times. The purity, the innocence of a 9-year old’s life shines through. But it shines through so strong it’s almost painful to look at. Painful in the sense that, “What would I write?” I can’t wait to ask his teacher where she found this. Maybe it’s a common thing to do for third graders? Maybe the whole country does it? Maybe no one. Maybe my son’s teacher is a philosopher and a genius.

What would you write? Will it define you?

What if everyone did this every year?
After having read it a few more times I thought more and more about his life. It pretty much comes down to friends, soccer, and math. If my life came down to three simple topics, I’d be thrilled. I think I’m scared to tackle this. I think I either need a drink or an hour of meditation or a walk through a park (like Yellowstone … ). Maybe this is something people need to do once a month or at least once a year. See how it evolves. Maybe there should be instructions, rules, or at least some guidelines. Or maybe not. Maybe just sentence length. Maybe just not more than a line each. I wonder if the third graders had rules. I bet the third graders, combined, the whole class, thought less about it than I have since just last night. I’m over-thinking this. I’m avoiding doing it. I’m hesitant. I’m not sure what will happen. You know those machines at the carnival with the spooky looking wizard and you pay a quarter and he says something, well, wizardly? That’s what this is going to be. I’m at the top of the cliff and I have to jump into the water. The more I wait, the worse it gets. I just need to jump. OK, 1, 2, 3, go.

  • Bradley Charbonneau
  • Resident of San Francisco
  • I am a dad, a husband, a writer, a traveler
  • I love my family
  • I cry when they’re hurt
  • I worry that I won’t see them grow up
  • I try to be the best me
  • I wonder what I’ll write in a year
  • I hope to make people’s lives better around me

OK, I have new rules: no editing! No going out of order! I tried not to stop, just let it flow, see what happened. Holy quickie soul searching, Batman! That kinda hurt, but in the way a final sprint around the track does: painful as you’re doing it but you feel better afterwards.

Dare you share yours?

I challenge you to write down yours. I double challenge you to write them out in the comments below.

I Am, I Love, I Cry, I Worry, I Try, I Wonder, I Hope

I Am, I Love, I Cry, I Worry, I Try, I Wonder, I Hope



  1. John Muldoon

    Hey Bradley, this is such a cool exercise.

    Really love this post.

    • Bradley

      I think it is, too. It’s one of those, “Wow, that’s so simple it’s complex.” type things. Maybe like writing a novel, “Ach, I can do that. Anyone can do that!” Aha, I see. Then do it and let me know when you’re done.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Lori

    Really loved this… a gift. Thank you.

    • Bradley

      “A gift.” Wow, Lori, I’m not sure I can even think of a nicer compliment. I’m touched, humbled, and thankful.



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