Monday, February 4, 2008

Links in a chain

Over the years, a few people I once considered my friends have told me, "You should be more like your sister." The implication was that I should be more adventurous. But that's not how I see things. The way I see things, we each have our own path, and the thing to do is to follow one's own path. My sister is the ultimate traveler while my mother is the ultimate homebody, but they are the same because both are following their own paths. My sister's life is more glamorous than my mother's, but glamor is irrelevant. Whether one's life is glamorous has little bearing on whether one is being true to oneself and living up to one's potential.

I feel that my grandmother, my mother, my sister, and myself are a chain of women across the generations. Even though our lives are very different on a superficial level, we are all carrying on the same tradition. We carry on the tradition of striving to follow our own paths rather than conforming to expectations. We also carry on the tradition of being the kind of person who would never say to someone, "You should be more like ____." Instead, we are the kind of person who says, "It's wonderful that you are yourself." We view others in a compassionate, respectful way. Although we recognize the validity of diverse viewpoints, we are selective about which people we become close to. We are committed to our family and those we have chosen as friends. We encourage the people in our lives to follow their own paths rather than telling them how they should be. We live life heartily and with integrity, but also diplomatically. We don't put up a fight against others, we just go our own way. The people in my family are role models to me not because of the number of adventures they have but because of the way they follow the path that is true for them, regardless of its glamor or adventurousness. I am one of them because I am true to me, and anyone who tells me I should be different from what I am is missing the boat.

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