Thursday, December 28, 2023

“To be, or not to be?” That is the wrong question.

contemplation #1

Hamlet’s question was a contemplation of death. The choice to exist or not exist. One of the answers is final. The other answer is what leads to my contemplation – “What happens when you choose ‘to be’?”

In early childhood, the question starts “What do you want to be when you grow up?” For some of us a vision of becoming a “grown up,” and all that it entails is a straight line. Career paths, family choices, carried in our heads as vague ambitions or firm plans. Others of us take the long and curvy “someday” path, even sometimes backtracking. In fact, there are people, like me, who spend most of their lives looking for, working for, or dreaming about what we will BE-come. Eventually.


I’ve decided that it is time for me to get off the “someday I’ll be…” merry-go-round. No, unlike Hamlet, it is not a consideration of death. It is perhaps inspired by the inevitability of death, creating a pivot point on that curvy road. Notice to stop waiting for what I am going to be, and concentrating on what I am – more precisely, who I am.


At this moment, who and what I am is an amalgamated construction of all I have experienced up to today. Wonderful life experiences, heartbreaking trauma. Family life, professional life, and the puzzle pieces that haven’t quite fit into the picture, but are still out there on the table.


Recently, I’ve been exploring my personal strengths, learning about the idea of spending more time using and improving them, rather that trying to cure my weaknesses. For 68 years I’ve been hiking up a mountain, waiting to finally get to the top, the place where I will finally be me. I’ve forgotten to stop, turn around, and look at how far I have come. How many hills and bumps and icy streams I’ve passed – and heights I have already reached. And yes, I see the muddy butt-slide trails where things didn’t go as planned. Even more important than taking all that in, is feeling what is under my feet, embracing the place where I am at, and recognizing who, and what I am. Taking that knowledge and those personal strengths as a new path, a new map, supporting who I am. As long as I be.


©2023 Noreen Braman


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