When this question was posed when I was younger common answers were teacher, doctor, lawyer, nurse, secretary and veterinarian. These days, answers would likely include web designer, graphic artist, computer programmer, analyst and personal trainer.
A much more valuable question might be, ‘Who do you want to BE when you grow up?’ Now that’s a question worth thinking about!
We so often get so busy with the doing that we forget about the being in our lives. I’ve noticed that many people have trouble adjusting to new chapters in their lives. It’s hard to leave behind careers that defined them for so long; it’s hard to talk about ourselves without talking about what we are doing. It seems so easy to define our lives according to what we do.
At the end of our lives though, it’s interesting that most people are far more interested in who we were being, than what we were doing. Our work-life ends up reduced to one or two sentences. But who we were being? This is what leaves the biggest footprint on the places that we walked in our lives. We’ve all met people in the same profession who have very different ways of being. Interestingly, what we remember about these people is not what they were doing, but who they were being.
When I started my teaching career, I was lucky to work with another new teacher, Herb Froese. The thing that stood out to me the most and that I appreciated most about Herb was the way that he approached every single thing he did with the same enthusiasm, effort, excellence and pride. It did not matter if he was conducting a band or mopping a floor. He was always being Herb. My daughter, Kaitlyn, is now in her first year of teaching, and guess who she gets to work with? Herb! And guess what else? He has changed schools, changed towns, changed some hobbies, changed his age, and he is still being all of the wonderful things he was being when I first met him! He is one of those wonderful people who will forever change the way you see the world, simply by his being.
As 2016 gets going, I’m taking some time to think about who I am being and who I want to be. I’m trying to worry less about what I am doing and take more time to consider who I am being while I am busy doing. I can change jobs, change houses, change my look and change my car. I think though, that my satisfaction will not be found in any of those things unless the person that I choose to be in the midst of all that change is someone I am proud of. On my list of who I want to be I would include someone who is compassionate, kind, open-minded, brave, honest, forgiving, hopeful, inspiring, inclusive and loving.
I recognize that who I am being is the thread of my life that follows me through all of my doing. I would love to make sure that thread is made of a sturdy, beautiful material that will stand the test of time.
A wonderful question for each of us this week is “Who am I choosing to be?”