One usually likes to think of oneself as an autonomous being, a product of ones choices, believes and free will. Which in many aspects is true. But come to think of it, how much of who I am is owed to the people who put me into this world? The place and time I grew up at?
This is a much debated and investigated question. What is inbred, what’s instilled? All interesting in itself.
If I were to elaborate on my life so far, much of it would be discussed under the caption “My life as a daughter”. Or “My life as an expatriate Austrian born in 1968”. Or “My life as an ex-Jehova’s Witness”. Or, to quote a book title, “The woman who walked into doors”. And so on. How and who would I be, if the same titles read something like “My life as a son”. Or “My life as a Romanian born 1986, living in Chicago”. Or “My life as firstborn to the Imam of Marrakesh”.
Quite futile, considering this further, as the captions are given and can’t be changed. On top, it all is so coincidental.
However, understanding this makes it easier for me to accept who I am and what I do not only as my own doing, or worse, “fault”. But as the sum of all these random circumstances plus whatever conditioning I received, makíng me tick the way I tick. Thus, I get the freedom to maybe change things. Or myself. To the better, I hope. If not, then at least it helps to gain some equanimity. Stops the constant fretting…This is the good news about becoming a bit older.
So, contriving different captions to one’s life story is not as futile as I first thought. Best thing about it is, that one looks differently at other people’s happenstances and how they deal with it.