Has anyone found a book that teaches us how to get to where we want to go? As a child, maybe we each dream of one day being someone or something (maybe a doctor or lawyer or a wife and mother). But where do we learn how to get there? We may attend medical school or we may even fall in love with the “perfect guy.” But what makes us the perfect lawyer or perfect wife/mother? And regardless of how much each of us may want to be that someone or something, and how many paths we may follow, maybe based on the advice of others like our academic advisors or mentors, are we allowed to make mistakes? Or does everything we do “mean” something, have some kind of significance that precludes us from continuing on our journey to where we thought we had wanted to go?
As a child, many of us (me included, at least) were told that we had to work in order to be successful. To never be lazy and expect someone else to support us. That in order to be a “success,” we had to work. But work where? And work doing what? I mean, I can think of lots of things that I would consider to be “hard work” which I do all the time for free. And yet, it is also said that your chosen profession should be something you enjoy doing. As hard as my work may be which I am not paid for, I do still enjoy it. But the work I do which I am “forced” to do everyday in order to earn money to live, is it something that I enjoy doing or do I just put myself through it everyday because it is what the world expects of me? I don’t remember when was the last time when I woke up and said, “Today, I feel like doing this simply because I enjoy doing it.”
During my college years, I studied psychology and at that time we were always debating the nature vs. nurture question. Are we born to be what we become or do we become what our society influences us into becoming? It always fascinated me how people in shared scenes or situations always tended to remember the scene quite differently. We all have our perspectives and I have to tell you, there are a LOT of scenes in my life which I don’t remember at all. And I don’t know why that is.
Yet, my oldest memory is me as a little girl, maybe 3 years old, and I was standing in the hallway of my parents’ house while they had company. It was late at night, I had probably woken up and come out of my room to see what was going on. My mother met me there and she got down on her knees (while being all dressed up for her dinner party currently happening in the living room) and she played with me for a few minutes before putting me back to bed. I can still see her face perfectly and how she wore her hair…which is how I know I could not have been much more than 3 years old. I always considered her to have been the best mother ever…granted she was the only one I had but she just had something about her. Some said she was great because she always spoke to us as children as though we were already adults. I have many more memories of her which I hope I will never forget and which always lead me to believe that she just adored me…regardless of what I did in life or what I studied or who I was becoming.
To her, I was always a success. It was just something I always saw in her eyes. But how did she learn that? Who taught her how to always make me feel important…even when I really wasn’t doing anything important at all? Is there a class I can take so that my intentions are never questioned? So that on days when I make a mistake, the people closest to me don’t walk away thinking I no longer care about them? How do I become like my mother seemed to be so effortlessly? What rules did she follow in life and where are the rules that I am supposed to follow in order to become whatever it is that I am meant to become? Because I still don’t know them.