Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

You are the Only You

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Have you ever met someone who cannot be replaced?

Their personality is unlike anyone else, and if you did not cross paths at the usual place and time, it would be a huge disappointment. The work they do is so beneficial or so encouraging, that if they stopped, you would feel lost.

Maybe that person took a vacation or a leave of absence, and you were counting the days until they came back. Fearful of what might be if they didn’t. Greatly anticipating the moment when they finally showed up again.

They are to you irreplaceable. Indispensable. Critical. Wanted.

But most of us choose to be replaceable. We choose to fit in. We choose to be another cog in the wheel.

We choose to be normal.

photo by amboo who?

photo by amboo who?

I believe that everyone can be the person who is missed.

There is some work, some purpose, some busyness that you can do that will make you irreplaceable. You are unique. You are unlike anyone else. You have a different set of interests and talents. You carry with you a different set of experiences.

And all of these put together add up to you.

Who Are You?

My wife was talking to my adopted daughter recently about who she is. Being an orphan up until the age of four, there are gaps in her life. Her beginning is a bit of a mystery. We aren’t even certain about her birthday.

She is a thinker and is always full of questions about her past. She is always trying to fit together the pieces of the puzzle.

Now, to some degree, she identifies with our family. A group of people to which she is now irreplaceable. But the story of her life as a Statton began only a year ago.

When we talk about the past, about things that happened prior to her adoption, she asks where she was. Why isn’t she in that picture? What was she doing? Was she in China or with us?

Recently she asked about a time years ago before we met her. Before she was even born. My wife responded by telling her, “You hadn’t been born yet. You didn’t exist then.”

And this idea was beyond her ability to comprehend.

The Only You

To think that at some point you didn’t exist, but now you do. You weren’t and now you are. The world was going along its merry way, and then boom, you became. Beyond the questions of when or where or how, comes the one question all of us must ask.


The question is certiainly a perplexing, existential dilemma, but maybe today we skip past that part. Hidden within is a simpler question.

Why are you you? And what are you going to do that is irreplaceable?

My answer is simple.

Because you are the only you, there is some important work only you can do. (Tweet that)

Of course there is the question of what, and the fun part is you get to decide. And the question of when, to which I hope your answer is now. But to be irreplaceable means you do the work that nobody else can do. You stop blending in. You stop trying to be normal.

There is some good in this world only you can do. There is some encouragement only you can offer. There is some gift that only you have the ability to give. There is some person that only you can reach.

Nobody else can do it. Only you. And when you choose to answer “why?” by doing it, you become irreplaceable.

Who are You Becoming?

It is okay to wonder who you are, like my daughter does. But we become irreplaceable when we wonder more about who we are becoming.

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About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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2 Replies

  1. “Of course there is the question of what, and the fun part is you get to decide.”

    I love this bit, Jeremy. It’s so true, yet so many of us hand over the what to forces or people outside of ourselves – society, the world, family, friends, culture. But our lives are our own (well, and God’s) and we get to define them and what they are and mean to this world in which we live.

  2. Sabine

    “You hadn’t been born yet. You didn’t exist then.” Children cannot imagine a world without themselves. But if we consider that we are inside God’s heart before we come into this world it helps us to become the best we can be.
    We surely make a difference for God, the point is to reflect it in the world…

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