Fortunately, or not, we are who we are. Growing up and achieving increasing levels of maturity, and happiness in Life depends upon finding our place in it. That requires self knowledge. We must identify and then learn to control our likes and dislikes, and our strengths and weaknesses, for us to effectively navigate the myriad circumstances, people, and places we encounter.
This is an example of how that journey of discovery began for me: When I was 5, after watching a Superman movie, I took a towel, tied it around my neck, climbed to the roof of our garage and tried to fly. As I lifted my scraped and pebble-embedded face from the driveway, I learned something: I do not possess that ability! – At least, that is the conclusion I reached after several other failed attempts with various kinds of parachutes and rooftop jumping techniques.
I always have had a massive oversupply of self confidence. Regularly, I am initially convinced that whatever anyone else can do, I can do too, and maybe even better.
In 8th grade, when I was 11, I joined a weightlifting class. The room had several mats. At the foot of each were various weights, from 80 lbs., 60 lbs., 40 lbs., 20 lbs., and then 10 lbs. I immediately took the first mat, assuming that I was strong enough to lift that weight, despite me weighing at that time about the same amount. The coach and other boys stood around me with arms crossed and with smirks on their faces as I tried to show them that I could lift and work-out with it. – Of course, I could not even lift it from the mat. Instead, I had to work out with the 10 lb. weight at the back of the class. — Another lesson learned.
Life is very complex. There are often as many losses as gains. It truly takes a lifetime to scratch the surface of who we are. At least, that has been true for me. Looking back, I am confounded by the immensity of the destructive, immature, and life damaging decisions I have made, particularly with lost loved ones, some still living, and some gone. It has been a miserable mile learning that it is just too late for too many. – As a stanza from a Bob Dylan song says, “I once had mountains in the palm of my hand, and rivers that ran through everyday. I must have been mad. I never knew what I had, until I threw it all away.” – Throughout my life, I have made some very bad choices that still haunt me today. – I was being who I was then. I was unable to be anyother way. And that was because of me not having much self knowledge.
Life has been both cruel and kind. Either way, I strive to remain as “boyish” and “childlike” as possible. In my latter years, my understanding and control of my behavior has made me more loving, compassionate, and inclusive. I enjoy more things. I see more beauty. And, as my time to transcend this mortal coil approaches, I am more focused.
I know what my priorities are. In my fading years, I am more alive and involved with every minute of my day. – I do not know what the future holds. I am weathered; but, I’ve been made strong by the experiences I have endured. Therefore, I am assured and self confident. I am stronger now, near the end, than at any stage of my life before.