Life’s journey is about discovering and defining ourselves, and hopefully finding the answer to the question we will so often be asked by others we encounter, “who are you?” Obviously, this answer will change depending on the stage of life we are in when asked the question. I will suggest that most from ages 10-20 are focused on their studies and figuring out what they want to do for work. In our 20’s, it is normal to focus on building our careers and having some fun, especially when you finally have achieved independence and earned some real spending money. In our 30’s, I find we tend to focus inward– on buidling our own families and striking that perfect work-life balance.
While I have generally had a pretty good idea of who I am, and the direction I wanted for my life, I do not think it has ever been clearer to me than now. As my new-found family tries to figure me out, I have been quite amused by some of the questions asked, particularly by my brother, such as what was I like growing up, am I religious, or am I a “card carrying feminist”? The funny thing is, my own son is starting to ask some of these same questions, and it is really for his sake that I am so glad I have these answers ready. For children to find their own identity, they need to understand their parents, and then they can hopefully take from each one the characteristics they wish to emulate.
When asked which of my values I hope my son will have when he is in his 30’s, here are my top three: (1) education; (2) family; and (3) a sense of community. I hope he never loses a thirst for knowledge, that he will not only want to form his own family, but also maintain the family connections already in place for him, and that he will want to be a contributing member of society. Thankfully, if he ever needs to further explanation or proof about my commitment to these ideals, there is quite a paper trail showing who I am: I got a scholarship at 14 that changed my life forever. I went on to become a family lawyer in the nation’s capitol seeking to promote the importance of education, children’s rights and a women’s ability to pursue her own dreams.
Whatever someone decides to do with his/her own life, we have to find a way to accept each person’s right to choose, and as parents we have to be able to let our children find themselves. Once we reach the point in our lives where we are able to accept others as they are and ourselves for who we have become, that is when we are in the best position ever to find true love.