(Image: I never would have thought that part of the ‘me I’ll be’ would involve raising chickens, among other surprises along the way.)
When navigating life (and this takes some navigating) it’s always better to keep two versions of yourself in mind – the me you are and the me you’ll be. The exception to this of course is if you are buying clothes. You need clothes that fit the me you are!
I heard this explained to a man trying on a suit the other day. He said that the size he was trying on was a bit tight, but he would be losing a few kilos soon, so it would probably be alright. The fitter told him to buy a suit for his body today, because he could always come back and get another for his new minus 5kg self tomorrow, or the next day, week or year when this new self materialised. I thought this to be good advice for our physical selves, but what about our other selves?
I wonder, as grown-ups, how we imagine this uncertain future. There has been a lot of interest in fostering a creative spirit when children are young. I think that it takes a great deal of creativity to imagine this ‘me I’ll be’. Of the seemingly endless array of possibilities, how do we choose? How could we even know the options?
We often ask children what they want to be when they grow up. It’s a tough question and it is also the wrong question, or at least the wrong way to phrase it, I think. The question seems to assume that we will suddenly realize when we have reached grown-up status (I’m still waiting for confirmation) and that we will be ‘there’ at that point. The logic seems flawed considering our incremental development, the rate of change in today’s world and the focus on lifelong learning that is fostered, so often, in schools. If growth is about learning, are we ever grown-up?
We may need to rethink the way we ask this question to children and we also may need to keep asking a version of it to our possibly grown-up selves: What me do I want to be for the next step in my journey?
…at least until we confirm that we’ve finally grown up.