– Dr. Seuss
I sometimes wonder if I’m insane. I have a tendency, a nasty, weird tendency, to think of myself as still a child. As a youngster. As someone who isn’t taken seriously as an adult. I see myself, quite often, as the same shy little dork from high school.
Seriously. It is. There’s nothing worse than not seeing yourself as you really are – whether you’re deluded too far to the right of your ego (narcissism) or too far to the left (pathological insecurity). And I think a lot of us suffer from it; even the people you think are immune.
Wouldn’t that explain our self-justifications? Wouldn’t that cover some of the puerile and selfish things we do? Doesn’t that put your neighbor into a clearer perspective?
We’re all adults who act like we’re kids trying to act like we think adults should.
Maybe not all of us. I know most older folks (let’s say 60 and up) seem to have a solid handle on who they are, what they believe, how they’ll live and what they want their life to leave behind. But getting to that point – arriving at full-consciousness of being adult – seems to take longer. Maybe it’s just a generational thing. Or maybe it’s some other sort of factor; maybe it has to do with home life or school districts or Yellow #5 or the strange way some cheese that should be solid and easy to cut steadfastly refuses to be that way. I don’t know.
What I do know is that, as The Head and The Heart sing, sometimes “I get lost in my mind.” Trapped in a maze of me. Maybe you get trapped in a maze of You.
If so, there’s hope.
It’s slight and crazy and almost certainly to scare the fool out of you, but it also creates a warm center in your heart that can’t be extinguished by the fiercest of chills. And it is this: do something that’s not centered around you.
I know – weird, right? I mean, how do you do something that’s not centered around you? You’re you, for Pete’s sakes? You can’t escape yourself! If you do anything, You have to be a central figure in the action!
But being a central figure is not the same as being the central focus. It is entirely possible for you to be intimately involved in something and still be invisible for all intents and purposes. If you simply act and then walk away – do for the sake of doing, without explanation or context or self-aggrandizement – you become nothing more than an actor, nothing more than just a piece in someone else’s story.
And you end up realizing just how grown up you really are. You discover that the maze of You isn’t as confusing as you would think.
It’s been said that the end of you is the beginning of another. Fair enough, but I think you could also add that the center of You is found when you put others at your center.
Seems like I recall a certain Nazarene said something similar about 2,000 years ago. And it still holds.