When my brothers and I were children, my aunt and uncle tape recorded/interviewed us. My oldest two brothers had a debate on football. My next older brother sounds listed the television shows he watched and the times and channels they were on – he sounded like a human T.V. Guide. Then it was my turn. My aunt and uncle asked me questions such as where I lived, who my best friend was, what school I went too, etc.
When they were ready to interview the next person, I asked to do it again. I said, “I can do it better.” I was no more than 6 years old.
Do you ever wonder when do you become you? When do you display the traits that stick with you for a life time? Is it when you are five and you are headed to kindergarten? Or maybe, 13 when you hit your teens and puberty? Or is it 21 when you become of legal drinking age? Or is it when you become 30 and gain perspective? Or is it when you are born?
When BR, my 9 year-old, was first born his eyes were wide open. I commented on this to the nurse who told me, “Oh that’s common. He’ll shut them soon.” Well, we are still waiting. He is a ball of energy.
BR’s latest obsession is with baseball statistics. He carries around two statistics-filled books around the house (when he is not on the computer viewing MLB.com) as if he were Linus and the books were the blanket. His previous obsession, the presidents, seems to have faded away. Maybe, this obsession, statistics, sticks. He gets a job as a statistician, actuary, accountant – something numbers based. Maybe, he is a numbers boy who will turn into a numbers guy.
When SJ, my 6 year-old was first born, he came out plump with his eyes half closed. I commented about how he looked so sleepy. The nurse (a different one) noted that many babies come out with their eyes slightly closed. Well, SJ is a great sleeper. He is very content to watch television (though he does enjoy the park and his bike) and charges downstairs when I call out dinner time as if he were a bull exiting the gate at a rodeo.
Recently, SJ told me he wanted to be a meteorologist. He used to say Thomas the Train. When questioned as to why a meteorologist, he told me, “This way you get to be on tv and everyone watches you.” His instinct for showmanship is not something new. Every Friday night while we are eating our Sabbath meal, he shimmies on to the coffee table and introduces us to the SJ show. He will sing, tell jokes, and dance. He also bows, says “Thank you, thank you,” and insists that we clap. So, maybe he is a future entertainer of some sort. He is looking for that attention that second children see the first born get.
Then, there is me. I think about that tape my aunt and uncle made. “I can do better.” This thought often goes through my head. It both boosts me up and knocks me down. I am proud of my desire to learn, understand, and grow. Yet, the feeling that I can always do better hinders my feelings of satisfaction. Contentment within myself is not something that comes to me easily.
Do you become you at some point and stay you? Recently, an old friend of mine contacted me – of course through Facebook. I had not spoken to her since my early 20’s – nearly 20 years ago. I wonder if we spoke to each other or to anyone else, for that matter, to whom we had not spoken to in an extended time, would they recognize or see the same qualities?
I suppose there are a core set of qualities, values and instincts, etc. that one retains throughout life. However, maybe you are becoming you every day. Every day you are you even if you are a new you.
very interesting food for thought! I love your last two sentences.
I am so glad you liked it. Thanks for the feedback.
Larry, I love this piece. We are two peas in a pod as far as “I can do better.” It’s both a strength and a curse. I love the questions you ask here and wonder the same for my daughters (both of whom came out with eyes wide open like your son!). Great writing here, Larry. Well done!
Hi Larry. It is funny how babies do seem to start out with a set of qualities and yet are so full of surprises as they grow. It looks like the warm, curious, adventurous guy I knew has grown into a warm, curious and loving family guy. Love it!!!!!
It really is funny.
Thanks for the compliments. Not to be conceited but those are some words I would use some of those words to describe myself – and many more.
Glad you like it and appreciate the comments.
Hmmmm. I’ll have to think this through all day!
Thinking is a good thing. Let me know where you end up on it.
I loved this post, it was so well written and lots of thought provoking lines. I’m a big believer that my journey so far has made me who I am and I am a constantly evolving person. In fact, I want to be changing consistently as it means that I am moving forward. I am experiencing life. I am always becoming me.
And, well, I’m pretty darn awesome!
Glad you enjoyed it so much. I like to make people think – good trait for a teacher.
I agree that ultimately we are are always becoming ourselves though I think we are more set in our ways – at least – as we age.
Love this. I’ve always been very quiet, it takes me a long time to warm up to people IRL. Sometimes I kick myself for it, but it’s seems impossible to overcome. I can fake it but I still feel it.
Glad you liked it.
Some traits feel nearly impossilbe to overcome even if we really want to.
I can totally relate to this one. You’ve read a few stories by now on my site about the things I did as a kid that still exist in my grown-up world. It was clear to my parents at an early age that I was an odd child. I was more like SJ.
I look at my son and think that same thing you were talking about. Can I really say that I know what traits he’ll have when he grows up? Jake is a bit of both of your boys – he’s got that numbers and stats thing he does but on the other side, he goes out of his way to try to make people laugh. I see sports commentator in his future.
You also performed for your parents? Did that lead to the DJ gig?
Sports commentator – hmm. Is that what you want too? For the Bulldogs maybe?
I’m coming back out of my rabbit hole now ….
I don’t know if the performing stuff helped me get into radio or not. I just know that I’ve been an extrovert for most of my life and that was all tied into how I acted as a kid.
Jake said he’d like to be a sports commentator AFTER he’s a big baseball star. And wouldn’t that make my heart go crazy if he was a commentator for the Bulldogs 🙂
Welcome. How are things w/the end of the school year?
Jake has alot of plans there. I hope he finds something that is great for him.
Loved this – and had to share it immediately on Twitter, Google and all possible kinds… 🙂 Well written!
Thanks so much Raani – on all fronts. Glad you loved it.
This is a great read. My constant need for self improvement is what continues to shape me throughout the many stages of my life. I think we definitely become a “new” person many different times throughout our lives, the most notable is becoming parents. When I became a dad, it became my life’s mission to make every effort to keep my son safe and protected. This will obviously change again when he is a grown man who can protect himself and his family. Since he’s only 4, I have a lot of protecting ahead of me, and I look forward to every minute of it.
Glad you liked it. I am w/you on the constant need for self-improvement. However, as you can note from the piece, that is not always healthy.
Being a dad certainly impacted my outlook on life and made me see life differently. I find that other monumental moments in my life also impacted. However, nothing is like parenthood.
Thanks for stopping by.
You have no idea how much this subject greatly intrigues me….well, maybe you do! I just got done reading Kevin Leman’s Birth Order Book to gain insight on my children. However, I actually ended up learning a lot about myself! I can really see where birth order plays a strong role in our development and how it played into mine. I was actually going to write a post about this but I’m not sure I’ll ever get around to it. In contrast to this though I also believe in astrology. I really do think we evolve as people but also that there is some forces we just can not control and that those characteristics will always be with us in some form.
I am glad you were so into the post. Feel free to tell everyone you know to go read it. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Now that you are back. I agree with your last line about evolving and some forces being within our control and some forces being beyond our control.
Great piece. I think there is the core “you” that comes out of the oven, compounded by the experiences that you live through each day.
I think I’ve seen “actuary” in an article recently as being the best career these days. I’d push for that. 🙂
Glad you liked it. I agree with your thought about the core you.
I am not one to push for careers – at least not to a 9-year-old. Give it about 10 years and I’ll think about it.
A very poignant piece. I like to think that I will never stop growing and becoming me. I have so much to learn and so many new perspectives and thoughts to explore.
I love the stories about your boys. They sound wonderful!!
Thanks for reading and the compliments.
I think they are wonderful – but I am soooo biased.
Here is to learning and exploring.