DISCLAIMER: if you don’t want to think hard, don’t read this blog…
I’m a thinker and if you’ve ever read this blog, you know that I think about things that most people my age don’t (to be honest, I feel like a 50 year old in a 26 year old’s body – it’s great). However, in recent weeks, I’ve been pulled into this deeper level of thought that goes beyond what I’m used to. It started when a patient told me that the more fragile that life gets, the more precious it becomes and it deepened when I was reminded (shoutout to Sam) of the phrase below.
I was, not as I am.
These things got me thinking about who I was (past Joe), who I am (present Joe) and who I want to be (future Joe). I realize that these three people are related in an intimate and complex way, but also very distinct. I began to think about how our present self becomes our past self the second that we think about it and so I did reading on the subject. I ended up coming across the words below and felt that this was something that I just had to write about (again).
This blog is about who we’re becoming and how we can take an intentional role in shaping that person. I’ll be looking at things through my lens (because that’s what I know) but I’ll be making points that hopefully transcend the boundaries of where I end and you begin. I hope that you can find yourself in the words to come.
Past Joe was much like present Joe but a lot less confident in who he was. Past Joe cared about other people but cared way too much about what other people thought of him. He was empathetic, ambitious and capable, but also insecure, anxious and lacking direction. Past Joe was influenced to a large degree by the people around him without his consent; he went with the flow of things and conformed to the people around him without too much thought. Past Joe was less well read and and less sure of where he wanted to go in life. He had an underdeveloped faith, he was less intentional and less optimistic. Past Joe let his desire to be liked hold him back from failing and therefore, from growing. Past Joe thought too much about himself and not enough about how his life affected the people around him. He let his selfish tendencies stop him from investing in other people to the degree that he knew he could. Past Joe was good but present Joe is better.
Present Joe is the one writing this blog; putting himself out there for the world to see just as he is. Present Joe still cares what people think of him, but he doesn’t let that dictate how he operates or who he is. Present Joe isn’t afraid to take action in the face of uncertain outcomes. He understands that to move forward, he needs to take action and that comes with risk. He understands that to improve, he has to embrace failure and that will always hurt. He understands that in order to grow, he needs to seek discomfort and that will never be easy. Present Joe has come to terms with his eyesight and all that comes with it. He feels grateful for his trials because he understands and believes that strength comes through struggle and that everything is happening for a reason. Present Joe is supported by his wife and has a reason to live well that is bigger than just him; he understand thats life is bigger than any one person. He is filled with faith, lives with love and acts with intentionality in all areas of life. Present Joe is happy with who he is but not satisfied.
Future Joe won’t be who he is right now. That seems obvious enough, but the truth o that statement reveals incredible power. Future Joe will be shaped by the constant stream of decisions and choices that Present Joe continues to make right before he becomes Past Joe. What I’m saying is that either, Present Joe creates future Joe on purpose, or Present Joe defaults into future Joe. Through thinking, writing and reflection, Present Joe has decided that he will pursue a Future Joe that becomes ever more self-aware, intentional, loving, caring and driven. Future Joe will strive to be even more selfless, authentic and vulnerable in all that he does. He will embrace challenges head on and pursue an unwavering faith in good times and hard times. He will seek to impact, influence ad improve the lives of others with the way that he lives and loves. Future Joe is a work in progress (he always will be) and I’m excited to see who he becomes.
Like always, these blogs are therapeutic and valuable for me to write. If you’re somehow still reading, I would highly recommend that you do what I did. Sit down and write about who you were, who you are and who you want to become. The simple act of putting these thoughts down on paper has the potential to significantly influence your decisions down the road, your feelings toward life and who you become. The take home point is this, at this very moment, we all have the ability to own who we are and take full control of who we will become. I’m sure you’ve had enough from me at this point, so let me leave you with an incredible quote to sum things up.
Don’t dilute yourself.
Joe Rinaldi, PT, DPT