Monday, December 5, 2011

Obligated to be me.

"All we are, we are. And every day is the start of something beautiful."
-Matt Nathenson

Little kids in school are always scheming about what they want to be when they grow up- sometimes it's a doctor, sometimes it's a fireman, sometimes it's an astronaut, sometimes it's a teacher. The dreams of little ones are endless at a young age, when the world is big, life goes on forever, and there are no such things as responsibilities and limitations. 

Of course, then we grow up. And the world turns out to be pretty small, life pretty short, and we feel defined by that which we can and cannot do.

See, as children, we are not concerned with the life surrounding our dreams. We don't realize that the people who impact us and are part of our lives have lives outside of where we see them. We don't realize that our babysitters go dancing on the weekends, or that the nurse in the doctors office lives at home with her husband and three kids. We don't understand the intricacies of a paycheck, the concept of tax, the escape of late night television. I don't know what age it is when we become aware that everyone else's worlds do not center around how they impact ours, and I don't know that it's even at that point that we understand that one day, our worlds have obligations all their own. 

I've been thinking lately about the obligations of someone in their 20's. As a college graduate, I'm supposed to be thinking about what my next steps are- will I get a job? Join the peace core? Become a slacker who lives in my parents basement and whines about the world and how it hates me? I'm still working on the answers to these questions. But I'm also still figuring out another question- one that I am much more focused on- who am I? 

Some people want to be defined by their work. Others want to be defined by their family lives. Some want their monetary status to be the first thing people think of when they hear their name. These definitions are the equivalency of those childhood aspirations- we want to be (fill in the blank). The difference is the understanding of how realistic these dreams are now. 

I am a writer; a singer; a philosopher and a dreamer; a poor but happy dancer; a working girl; a lover of rainy days; the daughter of two people who have made a life in a small town; a teacher for young people; a friend and confidant; a dog owner; an aunt to children not related by blood; a messianic Jew who believes that Jesus is the Messiah; a debater; a walker; a flight risk when it comes to running away and seeing the world, an editor that can't spell... I am so many things. I do not know which one defines me. 

And to be honest, I don't think I want to be defined by any one part. Because all of these things make up me and who I am, and all are interconnected. I wrote the songs I sing. I have learned to teach through the lessons I have learned by being a friend. And I learned to debate at a very young age by defending the faith that is extremely controversial. And when that faith presses on my heart, I start to write... it all comes full circle. 

As a child, I don't remember what I wanted to be. I don't know what aspirations I had before I started to understand the borders that surround life.I know that as an older teenager leading into college, I felt those borders had already defined my life and my path. But as a recent graduate, I've come to a different conclusion. 

Maybe we don't need to be so narrow minded as we were in children now that we know that life doesn't consist only of one thing. The elements that make us full people make us fun. I don't want to be defined by any one passion. Maybe I can just be defined by passion in general- I would love to be known as the kind of person with big dreams, big loves, and big aspirations. 

If I'm obligated only to that, I know I'll follow through.

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