The other night, in the midst of a rainy summer evening, my wife and I stumbled upon Along Came a Spider while watching Netflix. While the movie was mediocre at best, my mind was jarred from its lethargy by a line that stood out to me regarding one’s choice in career. “You do what you are.” Now, whether the line itself is particularly profound, or that it just seemed so coming from the voice of Morgan Freeman, it got me to thinking… do we choose our path in life or does a path choose us?
The more that I think about it, the more I like it. You spend the first decades of your life developing your identity. You already have an idea about your interests and passions, opinions and beliefs… it stands to reason that you are already well suited to do something gratifying and fulfilling. As such, you would be doing what you already are. The difficult part, is having the self awareness to understand who you are and what you love in such a way that you can accept your path once it is presented to you.
For myself, retrospectively I can see that I indeed “do” what I “am.” I love the world. I love its history, its people, its stories. I also enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with others, particularly with youth. I love to incite new passions and interests, and sharing the stories that have made us who we are as human beings living in the 21st Century. I love what I teach, whom I teach it to, and what the entire concept of public education means. Thus I was already naturally suited to be successful in the profession that I believe chose me, and can treat it more as an art than as a job.
Anyway, these are the musings that one finds themselves entertaining on soggy July nights. Know thyself… and an occupation of fulfillment can find you.
Photo by Leon Brooks. 2013.