Learning, Friends and Balance

Role models come in many shapes and sizes. Learning from my role models and being one myself are part of the balance I seek in life.

Parents are the most obvious role models. As children, we learn from their actions, as teens we often reject that knowledge in the name of finding our own identity. We wake up in the middle of adulthood to discover we are more like them than we ever wanted to admit. We are also old enough and hopefully wise enough to find a balance between part of what we learned from them and part of what we learned on our own. Dad was confident, curious, stubborn and a great planner. Mom was curious, a great planner and had a great sense of humor. They are both gone now, but they live on in me.

Friends can be role models too. Most of the people who mean something to me have reinvented themselves over time and I observe their processes as guidelines for my own reinvention. One friend ‘retired’ in her 40s and moved to Hawaii with her new husband; she has since started a career of sorts in radio, something she had never done before. Another friend has reinvented herself at least three times, corresponding with living in three completely different countries on three different continents. Another finally found true love with the man of her dreams, in her forties, and has now also started her own business doing something she truly loves. Yet another, the youngest and newest in my circle, defied the odds and probably rejected some advice to chart a path to a new career and a new life; she is struggling with it sometimes but believes persistence will have a payoff one day.

As my blog posts might indicate, I’ve gone through a rough patch myself this year. It probably seems that I’m all over the place with goals and self-analysis. I am in a reinvention phase of my life; more accurately a rebalancing period. In Boomerville, they call this a mid-life crisis, but I reject that description.

I’m a small boat with a big anchor and a long rope. Lately I’ve been tossed around by some unusually high waves and I have intentionally let out more and more of that rope. I am expanding my horizon. But I also know that I am not at the end of my rope, the rope will not break and the anchor is strong. The rope and the anchor were designed by my role models and assembled by me.

I know I’m grounded. I know I am an optimist and believe I will always find a solution to my own difficulties. But I unabashedly look to my role models for guidance. Ultimately I will learn from them and find my own unique solution – my own balance. I hope that in some way I am a role model for them too.