It’s a funny evolution — growing up and slowly making life choices. Something that has been on my mind recently — the choices we all make — pretty much touches every aspect of who we are. Not just what we do for a living — but how we do what we do. Who we choose to spend our life with – where that life is lived. Some of the choices are influenced by outside factors, but many are internal decisions. Steps are taken based on experience, based on culture, based on the humans our parents began to build.
But at some point, we stop being our parents children, and we become ourselves.
I can see — in how I live my life — both of my parents and my paternal grandmother (who assisted in raising my brother and I while living with our family most of my young life). Those three people did their best to shape a little human who had values, morals and ate her vegetables (among other things). The time, effort and education they put into me, the love and attention and angst as I grew up and spread my wings — the pure frustration they must have felt. None of their work was immediately evident as I headed off to college. It was hazy — who I was was still somewhat unclear.
I made them wait a little, too. I didn’t have all my sh*t together like most kids — I graduated from college and hung out in limbo for a little bit. Now, over ten years later, I can look back and things make sense. But they didn’t at the time.
And then all of a sudden, I began to figure it out, figure myself out. It started small, but it grew. I felt confident in who I wanted to be – as a partner, as an employee and as a member of society. Suddenly, I began to understand how the world worked — and that it didn’t work for me, or in my favor. I had to make that for myself.
So very long story short, I managed to fall into a career, I met a man who is actually my best friend, a man who cares about me and love me even when I’m completely unloveable. And I began to grow up for real.
What I mean by that is that at some point (and it varies greatly) I think we all become aware of taking care of ourselves — that maybe what we eat actually matters, and exercise is –after all– about more than being skinny and looking the part at the gym. That there are consequences to all our actions.
And then — each one of us — we begin to define ourselves. In our personal relationships, in how we conduct ourselves professionally — in how we choose to be healthy. Some people look for easier solutions — diet supplements, things that guarantee a result without putting in the work. And other people do the research, they slowly build their knowledge and modify their behavior. It speaks of character just as much as it speaks of health.
Anyway, I digress.
The point I’m making (in a very round about way) is that once we begin to make choices we begin to define who we are, but also who we want to be. And that entire process is fascinating. I’ve been thinking a lot about it (as I mentioned at the beginning of this post), because the man and I have made so many changes in how we live — and that’s just the past few years, not even the entire time we’ve been together. At some undefinable moment (because it wasn’t when I was diagnosed — that just enhanced it) John and I began to make changes in how we lived our lives. And the evolution of that is crazy. And I can see who we are, and our life circumstances, in nearly every change we’ve made. I can see myself — this late-blooming human being — beginning to emerge from the haze. And it’s pretty cool.