Sunday, December 18, 2016

Who Are You Now?

This morning I was struck with the thought that all three of the female children in our family experienced a trauma: sister K's first born passed away and sister S's husband died in his prime. I began to ponder about the sons of my parents: C went to jail and J lost a child in divorce.

Then I began to wonder how all those events shaped us as individuals. I recently listened to someone on NPR say we may all change significantly during our time on earth--an average of 3 times, if I remember correctly.

Though I don't see us as completely malleable creatures. I believe we're born with a personality that our environment influences. And depending on the strength of our personality, each person we spend significant time with helps us to see things differently--perhaps changing our social or political views and practices.

But, can we look back and see when or how we changed? Or are the effects so subtle even the people who've known us for years would be unable to say for sure?

A Carolyn Hax column from this year suggested that we become different people depending on who we decide to spend our lives with. A reader wrote in concerned about a friend's post marriage behavior. Here's part of CH's response:
"Relationship living involves at least some compromise somewhere, unless you manage to pair yourself with the person who has the exact same peer group, taste in television, bedtime reading habits, politics, drinking/eating/smoking habits, energy for going out, contentment with staying home, financial priorities, preferred form of exercise, approach to family and whatever else.
And so being apart from the person you’re compromising with on a daily basis usually means you plump out into a fuller version of yourself, even temporarily, in their absence.".
This rings true for me, as I've known people who lost a spouse whose friends and family remarked on how much they changed afterwards.

Today is a good day to raise a glass to all who have changed/influenced me for the better and may there be many more.
I never know what my brain will choose to ponder in the shower . . .

Who are you now?

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