Choosing the path with heart: Being ourselves

Many of us fantasize about what we’d do if we could go back to an earlier age, but retain our current memories and knowledge. I think I’d work on some skills, habits, and character traits (after buying a certain list of stocks of course.) One character trait that I really wish I had now is the ability to be myself completely. To be and act 100% from my core personality without worrying about what people think. The term “being yourself” has always sounded a little “fishy” to me; a bit gray and undefined, but I still find myself wishing I could be more of that “kid” that didn’t fit in when he was a youngster.

When I was young, I was an only child; and for whatever reason, I “acted out” and as a result I didn’t have many friends in school. This was tolerable for me then because I didn’t want a lot of friends anyway. One was fine. Maybe a backup when the other was sick. At a certain age, though, I got interested in girls. Then I got the same disease that affects all men at some point: “I must be liked by girls, no matter what I have to say, do, buy or become!” Most of us get over this heinous malady at some point, to some degree, but some of us are slow learners; I’m one of them.

And so, I thought I’d better go to college instead of painting, drawing or playing guitar. I’d better get a car, work out, drink, hang out with some “cool” people, get laid, drive fast and whatever else I had to do to “Be liked by girls no matter what I have to say, do, buy or become!”

I’m not complaining. I had some fun. But I lost track of the geek I know and love. The poet, the writer, the jammer and nerd. The guy that got excited over Star Trek trivia and sometimes wore a Superman suit under his clothes to school.

Now I know life isn’t all black and white, and choices aren’t always “either-or.” I mean, we need to know how to fit in. We can’t be complete outcasts. We need a friend or two. We need to be able to pull off a good job interview and go on a date without ordering in Klingon. (But if I had it to do over again, I think I’d finish learning Klingon…at least enough to order a good Mot’loch after a hearty helping of heart of Targ on “Day of Honor.”)

Maybe I’d stick with the guitar and be a poor destitute guitar player in Key West. Or draw caricatures on Disney’s Main St. I don’t fool myself too much in this regard though. I love where I’m at. I sold out to some degree along the way, but ended up with an unbelievably great life and family. It’s just that I have a wistful longing to revisit some of the forks in the road I came to and display a little more courage in choosing my path. I wouldn’t go back, of course, because there’s a chance I wouldn’t have the family I have now and that just wouldn’t do. My version of time travel will be limited to watching my daughter grow and helping her identify who she is, and help her keep some of her heart in every path she chooses.

Thanks for reading. I hope you found this thought provoking, or that it moved you in some way.

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