Friday, June 24, 2011
6 Little Words: We All Ask Ourselves
I'm not sure if anyone else remembers being in Social Studies class or History class. We'd be given the task of picking a story in current events and are then asked to answer the following six questions: Who? What? Where? When? How? and Why? And it was probably incredibly annoying for any of us to have to do this and answer these tiresome questions; but these six simple words are so relevant to our own individual lives.
They're the questions we probably find us asking ourselves constantly. Who am I? Who, if anyone, am I meant to be with? What am I going to do with my life and what have I done so far? Where am I going to go, where will I end up and where have I been? When is it all going to come together, when it will finally happen, when will it all make sense? How am I going to get there, how will I know and how the hell did I wake up and not be 20 anymore? And finally Why, why does it all matter, why didn't I see this sooner, why am I here?
I was recently reading a book by Barbara Sher called ''I Could Do Anything If I only Knew What It Was'' and it got me thinking. For so many of us, our ideas of what we're meant to do with our lives are based on the expectations others have set forth for us. This includes our parents, our best friends our siblings. But answering these questions through their eyes can lead us astray. Away from having sure positive answers to each of those questions. ''Inside each of us rests a silent message about what's expected of us. We may never say it out loud, we may rebel against it, refuse to do it. But somehow we always know what it is. And it has a powerful effect on how we run our lives.''
Maybe that's why I'm still figuring it out, at almost 28. (Ugh, I almost hesitated when writing that haha!) Because before I moved to Ireland, I had it all ''figured'' out. I went to school, I studied English, I was taking my exams to be a NY State certified teacher, would have gone for my Masters in Education then, and that was it. But then, that prescribed idea of my life plan began to become hard to see. Like looking through a foggy windshield in the rain when your driving. Continuing on, trying to wipe the glass clear but you still just can't effin' see where you're going! But you continue on, because you're meant, supposed to be somewhere.
After a while I came to that cliche fork in the road. Continue on to summers off, test papers to grade, graduation ceremonies (which believe me I am sure is an incredibly rewarding career) or try something completely new. Go off to Ireland and live in a place where I knew no one except my boyfriend; because what I really wanted was to travel, write and be involved in fashion, when I wanted to do it was now, where I wanted to go was as many places as possible, how that was going to happen was by finishing my degree in NY, hopping on that plane and freeing myself from the restraints of plans and obligations. Who I was going to do that with was him. And of course why; because it was an opportunity for growth, an opportunity for me to hear those 6 words in my ears, without the static of the answers of all those I love and love me in return.
Our answers to these questions I'm sure certainly change as we trudge through the chapters of our life, as the background and scenery change along with the co stars. Maybe all we need to do is make sure we are answering those questions for ourselves and for no one else. Not allowing the answers to be altered solely for others at the expense of ourselves. Because really, we want it all to just have meaning don't we? And only we can find what is meaningful in our eyes.
In all this confusion that is life, it is these questions that follow us where ever we go, from the beginning of our journeys and at the end in reflection. Maybe that assignment wasn't as trivial as we once thought. Maybe at some fraction of a purpose, it's practice. A series of questions mean to help us dissect and understand the stories of our own existence; to find focus, direction. 6 little words, no more than 5 letters in length that with them carry so much weight, echoing all through our days, the soundtrack of our lives.