All the World’s a Stage

One of the biggest challenges and exciting prospects of reinventing oneself is considering the sort of person you want to be going forward in life.


By the time you arrive at a point in life where you’re actually thinking about these sorts of choices, you’ve also already met, or are related to, individuals whose life approach is not something you wish to emulate. You know who I’m talking about: the old grandmother who has cast herself as the family martyr or the lively uncle who sees it as his role to play the court jester at all times. Then there’s your best friend’s sister who relishes her part as the Tragedy Princess or the guy at work who’s cast himself as the Sole Person on the Planet Who Knows What to Do.


So, who are you? What role have you selected to play?


It’s always easier (and a safer first step) to recognize these issues in others before we turn the spotlight on ourselves, but part of maturing and growing up is the willingness to undergo self-examination.


Another aspect that makes choosing who we will be going forward in our lives that much more intimidating is that a new role requires a different approach—one for which we won’t have memorized all the necessary lines. The not knowing makes it scary and awkward. And, it is my contention, that at this point in our evolution, or during times of tremendous stress, many of us aspirants revert to what we know.


So we yell or we cry or we pout or we rage. We cower or  we drink or eat food we’re not hungry for. And each time we backslide, it gets harder to reconfigure ourselves into that new role we’ve chosen.


Or, there’s a moment, when the stress presents itself and we pause, for just a second to ask ourselves, “Can I push through this and react differently? What if this time I don’t cave? Or, what if I gave X a chance and don’t refuse the way I would normally?” It is that split, microsecond of reflection that can open the door to a new self.


Re-booting one’s life extends far beyond pursuing a specific career or living in a particular location or changing our marital status. While all these topics are natural foci of such efforts, it can extend deep into the re-wiring of our social and spiritual DNA. Who do I want to be in this life? What is it about people whom I admire that I might replicate? What initial steps might I take in de-activating some of my internal wiring in terms of behaviors I wish I hadn’t adopted?


This morning, my 73 year old father said to me, “It took me a long, long time to recognize that, maybe, I didn’t need to ride into battle on all those fights. Maybe I would’ve been better off if I had just let some of those things go.” Those very lines are ones I never expected to hear from him.  This world is your stage, cast with care.


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