Who I Should Be
Why would people gain the whole world but lose their lives? What will people give in exchange for their lives? (Matthew 16:26 CEB)
I struggled for many years to find “the thing” I was meant to do – to find that passion I heard so much about that would drive me blissfully through a successful career. I saw my friends graduate from college alongside me yet move on to the next phase of their education to become the professionals they yearned to be. I had no idea where I was going. I could be whatever I wanted to be. Heard it often enough. No idea what that meant. I continued to go to school. I got engaged. I felt stuck. I felt uninspired and not grown up. I felt like I should know what I wanted and didn’t want what I had.
Many, if not most, of us are coerced into accepting that success equals status. We have inherited what feels like a Sisyphean cycle of toiling for material or egoistical gain. Our bigger toys mirror our levels of accomplishment. Our higher levels of accomplishment award us the obligation to create ways to lock the gates of opportunity. The more and varied the gates become, the more control we have to make exclusive communities that behave in the best interest of the Haves at the peril of the Have-Littles, Have-Less and Have-nots.
So I am left with this constant struggle to be relevant – without guilt or shame because I live from paycheck-to-paycheck, am glad to be housed and employed and loved. My comfort lately has been the results of my pondering with Matthew 16:26. My question becomes – Is it worth it to achieve what I think I should be at the cost of who I actually am? Of who I actually am.
As I get older and more people I know pass on, I cannot help but examine my life. There’s an amazing freedom that comes with personal revelations about expectations and probabilities; dreams vs. wishful thinking; and just plain truth! One of those truths is that some people will never change. This is not a truth that speaks to my pessimism. It’s not fatalistic or hopeless or cynical. It’s a truth that allows me to unapologetically decide for myself the amount of mental space I can let go and reserve for something or someone else.
And after all of that…maybe I’m just meant to do this.