“Who do you want to be when you grow whole?”
When I was 9 years old, I wanted to grow up to be a nurse. My choices were nurse or teacher – it’s just the way it was in the early 1970s – I didn’t realize that opportunity was waiting for me to grab it. That realization came years later when I wanted more and believed I could be so much more. And I was right.
The Brass ring was within my grasp
I reached for that “so much more” and I just keep reaching. I have had no plans for retirement, no thoughts of slowing down. As a matter of fact, when my brother reminded me that I am on the downhill slide of life, I was somewhat shocked. To think of myself – the perpetual 18-year old – growing old is, well, unthinkable. So, when I was invited to switch out “growing old” for “growing whole” – I gladly obliged.
There was a point in my life when I believed I could never live up to my parents’ expectations. I was raised in a very religious home, I became a very religious young adult and soon realized that there was no such thing as perfect people or perfect parents as I began to raise my own young family. I often felt overwhelmed and lopsided in the very straight world in which I lived. I wanted to be perfect, it just seemed like it was just out of reach – on the other side of a very deep chasm. And at about age 27 or 28, the smashing realization of self-imperfection nearly took my head off and rocked my world.
Not only didn’t I have to be perfect, I didn’t want to be – nor did I want anyone to think or believe I was – the pressure would be far to great and the hypocrisy even greater. I was satisfied with being less than perfect. But then my thirst for even greater knowledge began. I yearned to go back to school, to further my education – because the older I became, the more questions I had. I was no longer willing to blindly accept what others told me about the hugeness of life.
Do you know who you are – truly – who you are? If someone were to ask, how would you answer? Would your answer be laced with what you do for a living, how you fill your weekends, or the size of your bank account? Ponder for a moment who you truly are. I now think on this daily. I want to be satisfied with my answer, because what I said yesterday is no longer applicable today. I am a continuously growing, thriving, changing, hurting organism with a life path only I can create.
I am strong…, when I am not weak.
I am happy…, when I am not sad.
I am knowledgeable…, when I am not being an idiot…
I am all of these things. The contrast is what I love and what makes me who I am. Who I will be. How I will be remembered. How my legacy will be revealed.
Who are You?
Can you answer with complete honesty? Can you face the truth? Do you like it or does shame try to hide its shadow as it does sometimes for me? Stepping into the search for my legacy forced me to let go of the preconceived notions I had – about life, others, and myself.
Perfection will never be achieved. But I have discovered that it is chase-worthy. I will keep chasing… And in this chase, I have identified certain behaviors that I might just be able to perfect. These are strivings – and they are not simply attainable, but must be continually exercised and toned:
1. Open-Minded and Accepting of those unlike me.
4. Rigorous in my Work
Perception is Reality
The above are worthy attributes, chase-worthy even. When I consistently try to make them part of my reality, what do you suppose begins to happen? I heard a few months ago that curiosity is a muscle and you need to work it and flex it to keep it growing. So are all of the above – they are all muscles to be exercised, as well.
Determine which muscles you need to build – which areas of your life you can change and then do it, make it happen. You don’t need creatine or steroids, just a little gumption and tenacity.
Excellence is within your reach – what will you do to evoke it? You can fly if you want…
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward.” – Amelia Earhart