As I was slowly eking my way into adulthood (a process I am smack in the middle of now, thank you very much) I used to like to change the words to Neil Sedaka’s “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” to “Growing Up is Hard to Do.” Not so much because of the pains that come with the transitions to voting, relationships and employment issues – but the constant Don Quixote-like windmill jousting that went on with the Would-a, Should-a, Could-a Giants. You know, the well-meaning individuals who loved to hear the sound of their own voices as they’d pontificate about who and what they think you would, should and could be, if only you’d listen to them.
As I stated in a Facebook posting yesterday: I’d like to point out, that those who’ve spent so many years telling you who you Could-a / Should-a / Would-a been, have completely missed who you’ve become.
Artists, when they begin with a blank canvas, lump of clay or blank page -- whatever medium they’re working with -- will tell you that while they may have an inkling of what they imagine the finished project to be, it will take on a life of its own and sometimes become something completely different… a masterpiece of its own doing. To me, we are much the same.
When you are but a twinkling in your creator’s eye there may be some anticipation of who and what you will become, but that will change with time, exposure and the things and people who mold you. You will constantly change based upon what you hear, see, taste, touch and smell. You will carry the tiniest of influences with you all the days of your life.
Parents/caregivers, siblings, friends, teachers, bosses – they all leave an imprint. I have a friend who had a teacher once hand paperwork back to her with the words, “Someone didn’t eat their Wheaties this morning!” Over the half-century mark now, she hasn’t touched the stuff since.
But, what of those people in your life who appointed themselves Grand Master Referee of your existence and felt the need (dare I suggest the right?) to call out who you could of, should of and would have been, all the while not paying any attention to the incredible person you were, and probably still are, shaping up to be. Whether you are 25, 35 or eligible for the over-55 discounts at your local diner, their words carry poisonous tips that sting and scar even now. My heart hurts for you and the pain their words cause, but I am also truly sad for them, because that person cannot see who you’ve turned out to be – or have yet to become.
True, you may not be what they expected, but great masterpieces rarely are.
“We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.” – Unknown
“Confounding people’s expectations was a way to maintain integrity.” -- Lindsey Buckingham
“Don’t live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable.” -- Wendy Wasserstein