It takes time for kids to learn that words are cheap and that saying you are sorry is miles away from showing you are sorry. The words are only the switch thrown on an entire process. It is our actions that tell others that we are indeed sorry, that we have learned the lesson. “Learning” the lesson changes us.
We all have people in our lives who make a practice of letting everyone know that they can do great things. It means nothing without some evidence of those feats. Some people cling to the accomplishments of the past as if that moment is where they froze, forever the basketball star or the award winning cook at the county fair. They want you to see them as that person, that one accomplishment, as if it tells you to ignore the current person before your eyes.
People talk. They talk about the past and they talk about things they invent in their head. People talk about the future – they are going to write a great novel or travel the world, one day,when the stars align themselves just right. But, unless, at some point they actually begin to put one foot in front of the other, they go nowhere and there words are meaningless.
Every day we live our lives, forced to make choices, some more well thought out than others. We wake up, we dress, we eat, we head out for the day. Days turn into weeks, and weeks to months, and months to years . . . and how we spend out time eventually becomes how others characterize us. “There goes Mr. Jones, he is out of town most of the time, works for some big law firm.” “There goes Ms. Anderson, she is always sticking her nose in everyone else’s business.” We have long identified people by what they do – for employment and their spare time. It speaks to us about their character and we actually value people in greater and lesser degrees depending on the esteem we place on their chosen careers.
Parents try to engage their kids in all kinds of activities to give them exposure to different situations, peoples and places. We try to show our kids that there are options, beyond what might be immediately evident in their normal environment. We want to engage them in life so they will have plenty of tools to build who they are. But society also limits our kids with messages about what is of value. We plug them into conformity and compliance and limits from the moment they are born. We brainwash them into adopting endless consumerism, being enslaved to work so that they might pursue that consumerism, and a life time of debt and slavery to earning money. We make that seem noble, admirable . . . the right thing to do. We are not so committed to them living authentic lives and realizing everything they do, especially those things they do repeatedly, define them . . . and often limit them.
You can’t keep telling people that you are going to finish school if you never enroll in school and finish a single course. You can’t tell people you are going to quit smoking unless you actually stop buying cigarettes. You are never going to write that book or travel the world unless you actually do it. You decide every day in every little choice you make, who you are, what is important to you, and what your life is about. We don’t get many chances to undo tomorrow what we already did yesterday.
I think about that a lot. I am a writer. I write every day. I love writing.
I no longer connect what I do to outcomes. I am a ‘human being’ not a ‘human did’ or a ‘human going to do.’ I am being a writer. I don’t write to earn money. I don’t write to be famous. I write because I love it. It is who I am. It is like breathing. I do it without planning. I AM a writer.
I am not focused on what I have done in my past because those were things that happened while I was being. Those moments, while shining moments that encouraged me onward, will limit me if I cling to them as if they are the best of me. And if I am so focused on what I may one day do that may also limit me because life is what happens when you are making other plans.
Life is this moment, and the next, and the next . . . and what you choose to do with each of them. If you spend your life partying, using people and burning bridges that IS who you are and the only way to choose that is to change what you do . . . because words, without actions is just radio static that everyone tunes out and ignores as just annoying background noise.
If you want to be a star you have start sparkling, right now, right here, right where you are. A star is a star, even when the sun is out and no-one sees it. If the star doesn’t know who he is, what hope is there that anyone else is ever going to make a wish on it?