…in the last analysis the individual person is responsible for living his own life and for “finding himself.” If he persists in shifting this responsibility to somebody else, he fails to find out the meaning of his own existence. You cannot tell me who I am, and I cannot tell you who you are. If you do not know your own identity, who is going to identify you? Others can give you a name or a number, but they can never tell you who you really are. That is something you yourself can only discover from within. Thomas Merton
You are no doubt making arrangements for your holiday plans. Discussions are underway about who will celebrate with whom and where all this connecting will take place. It is extremely important to recognize that you are “responsible for living” your own life. These choices are all yours to make.
I remember the first holiday I had a choice. I was 22 years old, married for four months and graduated from college for six. We got married so young, neither of us had ever thought about NOT celebrating the ways we always had. Now Pete and I had two families to consider. Pete and I had settled in Richmond, Virginia because this is where most of our family lived. We didn’t really want to come back to Richmond. Both of us would have preferred to live in Charlottesville, where he had a job offer and let’s face it – with a newly minted psychology degree in hand, I was going to work any place that would hire me. We fancied a life in Charlottesville as ideal – able to participate in all the sporting events of our alma mater UVA without having to go to class or pay tuition. And I do love those rolling hills!
My parents decided while we were on our honeymoon to move to Connecticut. Bummer. And to make matters more interesting, it never occurred to my folks that their move would in any way effect holiday schedules – it was assumed we would show up wherever they lay their heads (at least that is what I assumed).
Our first Thanksgiving provided us the opportunity to choose one of three paths: seek revenge by withdrawing from my family (who hurt my feelings by moving away when I “sacrificed” to live in Richmond), figure out which side of the family we were most afraid of and comply with their wishes, or take responsibility for living our own lives.
I cannot remember what we chose, but I know it was NOT option THREE.
Maybe, like me, it feels like a radical new concept to consider this: you are totally responsible for the life you live. You. Are. Responsible.
How are you doing with that?