Sunday, January 16, 2005

Supposed to be?

My oldest son has this way of asking a question that has no real answer. He’ll ask something like, “Is this door supposed to be open?” Now, mostly I think he’s asking, “do you want me to close this door”, but the question always irks me.

The other day I chose to answer the question. I said, “I don’t think the door’s supposed to be anything other than a door. It’ll be opened or closed depending on what’s needed of it.”

Okay, it was a smart-ass answer. When I answer smart-ass answers, I almost always regret it afterward and start reviewing the things I say that are similar. In this case, I found some remarkable self-revelations.

I am constantly keeping myself in turmoil by asking, “What am I supposed to be?” If I look at the smart-ass answer I gave my son, maybe I’m not supposed to be anything in particular. Maybe I am what I need to be – and more than that, I am what I want to be.

Its subtle, but it takes a lot of pressure off. There is no “supposed to be”, in the sense of some fated goal I will be measured against. There is a “supposed to be”, in the sense of doing what needs to be done to achieve the choices I’ve made. The nice part of this is that choices can be changed.

What am I supposed to be? Right now, a good: father, husband, community citizen, teacher, learner, neighbour, son, brother, example, provider, listener, lover, friend, guardian, guide, healer, coach, and more that I can’t think of. These are things that I have chosen long term.

There are other things that I can choose, to be things that I have decided I want to be. Writer, musician, planner, artist, performer, developer. These things I had put aside because they weren’t possible. I now believe that was not true.

So now I think the answer I should have given was, “I don’t know, what does it want to be?” (okay, so that would still have been a smart ass answer.)

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