As a child, in school the question from teachers, parents, and counselors that I was constantly asked or forced to think about was “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
In other words… what they were wondering and forcing us to think about is what role do we want to play in this culture. They were grooming us in our early stages of development by indicating if we want to play the role of “X” when we grow up then we must do “Y” and “Z”, and the even scarier part, we must be “Y” and “Z”.
They were forcing us into a box. Thinking outside the box was discouraged, unless of course it was to improve this capitalistic culture.
This is the culture about “doing” not about “being”, and that’s the problem. The key question we should have been asked early on is “who do you want to be when you grow up?” What kind of wife, husband, partner, daughter, son, friend, and neighbor do you want to be? Who do you want to help and why do you want to help them? How do you want the living world to see you and how do you see the living world? This would focus on the “being” of human beings.
Instead, we get sucked into the former question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” So for most of our lives we become human doings instead of human beings. We just keep doing until we feel like we have answered that question, but don’t worry once you retire and get to the final quarter of your life you can focus on the human being part.
This is nonsense! I am not saying quit your job so you can be a human being, that’s unrealistic for the vast majority of us. What I am saying is shift your focus and your mindset.
I am almost 35 years old, and when I look back at my life I think about how quickly time has passed me by. This is because the majority of my life I have been a human doing, focusing on what I need to do to answer that question that was implanted into my brain at an early age, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
It made me think that I have all this time to still figure out who I want to be when I grow up. I have procrastinated figuring out how to start exploring the answer to this question long enough. This is a question that takes a lifetime to attempt to answer, and a lot of us may never fully answer the question. But trying to answer this question shifts our focus, it helps us take inventory in our lives and start to become a human being. The journey in life that we will all remember as we take our last breathes will be the moments we figured out what makes us “be”, not what makes us “do”.
2017 is the year I am finally starting to shift my focus from being a human doing to a human being. It’s been extremely rewarding so far and has opened up avenues I never thought were available for my life. This is my hope for all humans on this planet, and I want to share two things with you that I think can help you focus on the “who” you want to be instead of the “what” you want to be.
My mantra in life is to move forward because we cannot go back and change the past. Just because we cannot go back to our past doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look back to our past.
Looking back at our past, as well as the planet’s past is vital to figure out how to move forward. Examining the planet’s past helps us figure out who we are as a species, and what lead up to our entry into this living planet. It connects us to the living community, not this unreal virtual community persona we spend hours on end refining. It forces us to confront what the living planet needs from you since we are destroying the living planet. Doing this will have you come to the realization that you need the living planet more than it needs you. That really you’re just a tiny dot on this big living biosphere (sorry flat earthers), and that in the end you’re part of something that’s bigger than you. This is something we human doings have suffered amnesia from which is having catastrophic consequences.
If you want to figure out “who do you want to be when you grow up” you better understand what you are a part of first.
Looking back into our personal past is vital on figuring out how we move forward as an individual.
Examining our past can help us remember who we were and who we want to become. When reaching deep into your past you can take inventory of the moments in your life. You can figure out which moments in your life were turning points that led to defining moments on the person you have become. It’s these reflections that help lay the tracks for your life train to go over. It forces you to relive these moments and be a human being in the moment as you reflect on it.
In my almost 35 years of experience I have seen, read, and heard about people experiencing life shattering moments. Moments where a part of them dies and new part of them is born. These can be good things and these can be bad things, but one common trait most of these people want to know after they have processed this shattering moment is how to move forward.
If we practice being humans beings and not human doings we can help these people. Talking about moving forward regardless of the circumstances engages people, but talking about negativity and losing foresight of the gifts around us does not. Plenty of times I have waxed poetic on the injustices in the world, but failed to provide options in moving forward. It’s something we must never lose sight of.
Shorten Your Time Frame
In the past I have talked about dancing with death (which you can read here). The point of the piece was to recognize that we only get one life and it could end at any given moment. So instead of being fearful of death we must embrace it. We must enter into the partnership with death and stare at it in the face as we live our lives.
Entering into the dance with death will help us look at our lives in shorter time spans. It will hone in our focus on human being not human doing. Each decision, each day will bring more intensity to that decision and to that day which will lead to more powerful emotions. You will take less for granted. You will be more “being” and less “doing”. Years of your life won’t fly by like a speeding train.
For me I look at my life in two year time spans. I think about the goals of where I want to go and who I want to be as a person. I have found myself much happier in this shortened time span. I found myself feeling more emotions than I ever have before in my life. I find that I am a human being that is not letting his life slip away from him.
Those of us who are activists are seeing our society shifting, our protected freedoms failing, and the living planet plummeting. We talk round and round in circles about how to combat this and how to live our lives moving forward. We listen to every opinion that we can about what is going on in the world and what we can do moving forward. In my humble opinion, which is what the whole point of this piece is about, is we must turn these thoughts inward and ask ourselves one question that is never too late to start trying to answer… “Who Do You Want To Be Now That You’re Grown Up?”