Do you remember when you were little and people would ask you what you wanted to be when you grew up? If you’re anything like me, the answer was usually associated with some career. On any given day I wanted to be a teacher, a waitress, a fairy princess or the next Lois Lane. It never crossed my childlike mind to think about who I wanted to be rather than what I wanted to be.
But who do I want to be? Who do you want to be? I’m not talking about what job you want – unless that job is somehow tied to a larger dream. If you want to serve people in their deepest times of need, perhaps you do want to be a nurse who can show compassion while caring for the basic needs of others. But beyond an occupation, who is it that you want to be at the very heart of your being? Do you want to be someone who influences others? Do you want to be a person of passion? Do you want to live out a life of compassion?
For some reason, in my 30’s, I feel as if my life is almost over and I’ve already missed out. But the truth is, as long as there is today, I have the opportunity to become who I most want to be. The challenge is to find out who that is, and then pursue whatever it takes to become that person. If I want to be compassionate I need to practice compassion for myself and others. If I want to be happy, I need to find ways to bring happiness to others, because giving the gift of happiness is almost always the way to experience it yourself.
Be wise in pursuing who you want to be. Make choices you won’t regret. That doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes, but it does mean that you weigh each choice carefully, in most cases, selflessly. (How often have I made selfish choices only to regret them later?) And then, when you’ve made the wisest decision you know to make… act. Action is key. We can never become who we want to be by wishing it would happen. We have to choose and act in order to make it happen.
So who do you want to be? Do you feel it’s too late to become that person? Challenge yourself to take a single step today in the direction of your dreams, and then another tomorrow, and another… It’s never too late to become who you might have been.