Thursday, January 24, 2013

When You Grow Up



Hello Val


I have written in this journal before about the elementary school science teacher who ridiculed me for wanting to be the first man on the moon by telling me man could never go to the moon. I wonder where Neil Armstrong went to school.

I won't visit that story again today. Instead I'll tell you about an 18 year old boy I got to talk to one day about his future. He was about to graduate from high school and go on to college, but he said he didn't know what to study, he didn't know what he wanted to do with his liofe. I gave him the usual adult-type advice about not needing to know at 18 years. I assured him that at some point in his life he will probably have a bright moment of realization about himself which would lead him into a life's work that would be satisfying and endlessly interesting to him.

I told him not to try to force the issue. I said it may happen in the next five days, or the next five months or the next fice years or even longer. I told him about two businessmen I knew who both in their fifties completely changed their lives. One became an ob/gyn and the other a baritone, the first because he wanted to deliver babies and the other because he wanted to sing opera.

I told the boy to do the things that interest him and whatever comes along and then measure the relative importance of them. and gradually something will emerge from all the rest and when the bell rings you'll know it's what you want to do for the rest of your life and there will be no question about it.

The answer to the quest is not This is what I want to be, nor This is what I want to do. The answer is This is what I am. 55 years ago, while struggling and stumbling with the same problem confronting this boy, I awoke from a dream one day with a flash of light that said "You're an actor." I accepted that fact because I suddenly knew in my heart it was true and I never looked back.

On the basis of that realization and following thorugh on it my life has expanded into painting and writing. And I hope someone day it will expand into composing music. But the greatest step of all from the school of self fulfillment is into the real world of understanding ourselves, the realization that whatever you have done or are doing in life is a master blueprint for getting to know who you really are.

What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a man who knows himself.


Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up


1 comment:

Geo. said...

I've had many such discussions with myself and always ended up a gardener. Your closing line about knowing yourself pretty much nails it. Great post, DB.