This is an incredibly simplified idea.
I know that you can argue that the title of this post is not necessarily a true sentence.
You can’t decide to be a 7-year old. You can’t decide that you’re gonna start working on The Simpsons tomorrow. There are things that are outside your control. I’ll grant you that.
But, we have a ton of control over what we decide to be.
Before I got sick, being a runner was a huge part of my identity. (I was better at it back then. (But still not great. Don’t get excited.)) I had a humongous passion for running. I went to the gym a lot, pushed myself, and trained for distance events. I took pride in it, and loved my hobby.
Then, I got sick. And that part of my persona, I guess you’d say, started to slip away. When I started this 52 half marathons project, a lot of the people I knew didn’t even know I used to run.
Within a few months of starting this project, people once again found it very normal to ask how my training was going, or what my next race was. It wasn’t all that hard to change people’s perception of me. I decided I wanted to run, so I just started running.
Again, it’s a very simplified idea. Some perceptions are stronger than others. Some things are harder to overcome than others. Some goals are more specific than others. Saying you “want to be a writer” is different than saying you “want to be a writer for Modern Family.”
Obviously, you can dream big. If you want to write for Modern Family, you should pursue that in every way you can!
But, there are some changes we can make immediately that depend on us (and basically no one else). If you want to be a writer, write your specs, start a blog, write in a journal at night – just write something.
If you want to be a marathoner, just start running. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, figure out something else.
Whatever you want to be, just be it.
There are a million excuses as to why we’re not exactly who we want to be. Some are way more valid than others. Some are genuine obstacles that need a lot of planning, time, and effort. And unfortunately, as much as I really like to believe that anything is possible (and nearly anything is), there are some things that are just actually impossible. (Sorry.)
But fight. Fight to the very end. Fight if an obstacle is only nearly impossible. You don’t give up until it is literally impossible to do the thing you wanted to do. And if you should find yourself in a situation in which the thing you cared about most is no longer possible – there has to be something new (related or possibly completely unrelated) that you can throw your passion behind.
In the end, a lot of things outside of our control will decide the minutiae of who we are. (I suppose not all of it is minutiae, ’cause some of those details are actually pretty important…) Sometimes outside forces will work in our favor, and sometimes they won’t. But ultimately, we basically are what we decide to be.
Who are you going to decide to be today?