May 17, 2006

Remember Who You Wanted To Become

When MP3s are ripped, little segments from this gigantic, broad spectrum of sounds are removed. They're small. You'd probably never notice they were missing if someone hadn't told you. Now that you do, you still won't. Maybe a teensy bit of the treble is weeded out. Or a little bit of bass. These pieces are removed not because they're unwanted, but because they take up space. They're not efficient. And the one advantage about MP3s is their size.

As I was driving home yesterday, I saw a bumper sticker that made this whole thing I've been thinking about come together, forced this lame analogy. Remember Who You Wanted To Become, it said.

We all start off full of promise and potential, without boundaries or, at least, not knowing what those boundaries are. Gradually, though, like the sounds that come together to form music, small, almost insignificant frequencies are stripped away. Whether by necessity or age or expectation, we lose a little of our speed, power, agility, depth. When we're in elementary school, we learn a little about everything. Through secondary school, we continue to digest large chunks of information about the world around us, history, science and our languages. But then we reach a point at which specialization is not only encouraged but required. In college, we no longer focus on history but the history of a defined region or culture. We no longer focus on English but a minute period from the vast history of the language or a form it took. Education is only one example. When we enter adulthood we're expected to become serious, focus on our jobs (further specialization), raise a family. Our personalities are expected to take a back seat to all this Adult Responsibility.

We cross the line, at some point, between generalists and specialists and no one ever gave us the choice. And you know what I say? Fuck society and its expectations. Remember who you wanted to become.

When you go home, jump on the bed. I once got a concussion from jumping on the bed. I was in college. And I wasn't even drunk. I'm damn proud of it. Screw doing the dishes tonight. Watch a bad movie or roll around on the floor with your kids. Put their clothes on your head. Don't hide your farts; laugh about them. Tell a really lame joke. Have Cheez Whiz for dinner. Eat your dessert first. Crank some music and dance around the living room. Make a crank call. What ever you do, if only for a few minutes, avoid being the person society's trying to transform you into. Be yourself. Remember who you wanted to become.



Posted by Chris at May 17, 2006 7:15 AM
Comments

Brilliant post. I'm gonna wear my underwear on my head too, just because.

Actually, I'm gonna play a video game that my son loves with him until I finally get it. I always do a horrible job, but today? I will not be denied! :)

Have a great day!

Shash

Posted by: Shash at May 17, 2006 7:19 AM

Amen. Very similar to the plaque I just had to buy - it says "Remember who you were before you put yourself last".
As parents, one of the hardest things to do is take care of yourself, but it's probably one of the best things you can do for your kids.

Good post - great pictures!

Posted by: fauve at May 17, 2006 7:38 AM

I was raised to "conform" and spent my life swimming in the opposite direction. Had I not, I would have missed out on a lot of great experiences. I never could understand why people would want to "fit in" to society. It's corrupt and misguided and about a gazillion other negative things. Sometimes it's hard though, because society has a way of making you feel like an outsider. I just consider myself lucky...

Posted by: JuJu's Mom Linda at May 17, 2006 7:40 AM

it's taken me a long time to find the person i wanted to become, but i think i've finally found her.

we all need to be reminded to seek our true selves. thanks for this one.

Posted by: suze at May 17, 2006 7:50 AM

Nice. Very nice. I think I may need a t-shirt with that printed on it...

Posted by: Alissa at May 17, 2006 7:55 AM

I never hide my farts. It's part of my charm.

Posted by: Allan at May 17, 2006 7:59 AM

I can tell you that that little tidbit about Allan is true, because I live with the man. It's okay though, because he never says ANYTHING about my nose-picking.

Posted by: Alison at May 17, 2006 8:04 AM

If I start acting more uh... childish... than I already do, my wife will throw me out. ;)

Posted by: Latte Man at May 17, 2006 8:09 AM

In the age of caller id, can anyone make a successful crank call anymore?

Posted by: HR Mommy at May 17, 2006 8:47 AM

In the age of caller id, can anyone make a successful crank call anymore?

Posted by: HR Mommy at May 17, 2006 8:47 AM

Nicely written. Mia gets more beautiful every single day.

And Beth is the best sport ever. You two are dorks :).

In the best possible way.

Posted by: jen at May 17, 2006 8:59 AM

Ha! Last week, I had ice cream for dinner one night. Simply because I could. Can't beat that. :)

Posted by: Traci at May 17, 2006 9:02 AM

I have a sticker that reads "When I grow up I wanna be like me." For me, it's always been a bit of a reminder that it's okay to be silly and childish and fun. I really hope I never grow out of that.

Also, I *heart* your baby. Those cheeks!! I want to squish them!

Posted by: pea at May 17, 2006 9:08 AM

great post, and love the pix. whenever we're folding laundry, steve and I resort to being 10-year olds and wear each others underwear on our heads and walk around the house being silly.

in the military, we were forced to conform to what everyone wanted us to be--i became a thick-skinned robot, shell of a person--and i lost who i was. now that i'm in a profession that actually CARES about people, some of those tough callouses have sloughed off and i'm more who i was designed to be...with just some experience under my belt.

Posted by: Dolly at May 17, 2006 9:12 AM

great post, and love the pix. whenever we're folding laundry, steve and I resort to being 10-year olds and wear each others underwear on our heads and walk around the house being silly.

in the military, we were forced to conform to what everyone wanted us to be--i became a thick-skinned robot, shell of a person--and i lost who i was. now that i'm in a profession that actually CARES about people, some of those tough callouses have sloughed off and i'm more who i was designed to be...with just some experience under my belt.

Posted by: Dolly at May 17, 2006 9:14 AM

I fell into the trap of conforming to society's expectations about 10 year ago and I was completely miserable. Never again - I like who I am now and I don't want to change for anyone. Great post, and thanks for reminding me that it's fabulous to be me!

Posted by: Beth in StL at May 17, 2006 9:18 AM

I love this post! Sometimes you have to go against the grain & cut loose or you'll go insane. I make it a habit to go against the grain on a regular basis...and I think I'm all the happier for it.

Posted by: MrsJoseGoldbloom at May 17, 2006 9:25 AM

Excellent post, Chris. It's always good to be reminded of that, especially when you're not only an adult but a parent, with the extra levels of how you're "sposeda" be all serious and boring, that come along with it.

Posted by: Kate the Shrew at May 17, 2006 9:58 AM

I'm still in the process of becoming who I wanted to become...;-)

Posted by: Ginny at May 17, 2006 10:02 AM

Excuse me while I go run with scissors!

Posted by: Pammer at May 17, 2006 10:06 AM

Brilliant. My son and wife have a brand new baby boy; born last night at 8 lbs 9 oz. His next youngest is almost 14. I'll send him this post.

Grandchild #10 plus the 3 greats who live with me.

Posted by: ann adams at May 17, 2006 10:17 AM

I was laughing at this, 'cause it made me remember the scar on my chin. The one that I got when my brother & I were playing on the see-saw, and he slammed his end on the ground, I lost my balance and went ass over teakettle down the see-saw. Resulted in 10 stitches. I was 21 at the time... my brother was 17. We still laugh about it. Those are the only stitches I've ever had to get. The look on the Dr's face was priceless while explaining to him how I busted my chin open.

Posted by: Karen at May 17, 2006 10:23 AM

i love it. ;) exactly what i would aspire for my philosophy to be.

Posted by: Sarcomical at May 17, 2006 10:30 AM

I work tonight so in celebration of your post, I think I'll give everyone who orders REGULAR espresso, Decaf! Mwhahahah. Just kidding, I'm not THAT mean.

Loved this post. It's my daily mantra. Be who you are. Nothing wrong with having fun.

Posted by: VirgoJen at May 17, 2006 10:36 AM

Remember who you wanted to become -- I like that. I would love to recapture the fearlessness I had as a child, when my parents told me I could achieve anything I wanted and I believed them.

Posted by: bad penguin at May 17, 2006 10:37 AM

Sounds like a typical night at our household. We are eternally goofy and I attribute that to having kids. It was an excellent reminder of how gooood it feels to not be that straight-laced adult that society likes so much.

Posted by: Brad at May 17, 2006 10:52 AM

I've been telling ppl this for years, or something like it anyway. So many ppl get all old and stuffy and are no fun, not even old...lots of kids are that way too. Bah-humbug on them... Let's have a cake fight!

Posted by: Melissa Sunshine at May 17, 2006 10:58 AM

Allen, you're the guy that is always sitting around me on the airplane you sicko....

Posted by: Johnny Smoke at May 17, 2006 11:18 AM

Yes it's so damn hard at times to remember who I wanted to be. I'm disgustingly responsible at times. I wanted to be a writer, or the first president of the United states, and I wanted to whisk around the world.

Just for you, I'm going to dance naked in bedroom, while making that wa wa * bad porn music*.

Posted by: Michele at May 17, 2006 11:22 AM

Gah, one of my profs has spent the past couple of years telling me "you can learn as a generalist but you can't DO as a generalist. You HAVE TO become a specialist!"

Um, don't eat cheese whiz for dinner, or any other time, for that matter. BAD, Bad, Bad! The rest of it sounds fun though...lol.

Posted by: Jaycie at May 17, 2006 11:27 AM

Damn straight!

F'n poetic.

Only in addition to jumping on the bed, I would add eating brownie mix straight out of the bowl with your face.

*Sigh* I miss the days when I didn't care what was accepted or not.

Why can't we grow YOUNG instead?

Posted by: Tink at May 17, 2006 11:47 AM

everyone looks hotter with their panties on their head!!!!!! CUTEST BABY EVER!

Posted by: jennster at May 17, 2006 12:14 PM

I don't know Beth, I think your ensemble is missing something. I can't quite put my finger on it. :oP

Posted by: statia at May 17, 2006 12:14 PM

Mia gets more beautiful every day.

Excellent post. It's hard to remember to do stuff like that with all the crap that's going on around us. I mean, last night I was really responsible and stayed up late doing laundry, the whole time worrying about finding a vacuum to clean the house.

Of course, I did re-watch the last two hours of Grey's Anatomy. And cried. And ate Taco Bell.

Maybe tonight I'll dress up like a fairy princess.

Posted by: Rhonda at May 17, 2006 12:22 PM

Wow! This post made me teary. I have been giving away little bits of myself since I was a wee little girl trying to fit into my family. Only in the past few months have I started to even learn how to reclaim those bits and take care of myself.

I have taken Remember Who You Wanted To Become
and enlarged it and printed it several times to hang on my comp here at work, at home, and to put into my daily journal.

Thank you for a great post and for reminding me of what I need to do daily!

And BTW, that is one beautiful little girl!

Posted by: Doula Amy at May 17, 2006 12:42 PM

Really great post. I always thought it would be easier as an adult (when I was a kid) How little did I know. My daughter inspires me daily to be the person I want to be.

Posted by: Shannon at May 17, 2006 12:51 PM

growing up i wanted to become Kirk Cameron's wife.....since clearly THAT didn't happen...maybe i need to start farting and laughing about it.


because all that other stuff you mentioned? the cheez whiz...the crank calls...the lame jokes...the dancing...the clothing on head...the bad movies...i already do all of that...

oh, and i don't have to tell you, but Mia is stunning.

Posted by: ali at May 17, 2006 1:38 PM

Mmm...philosophical goodness. Thanks, Chris.

Posted by: Heather at May 17, 2006 2:31 PM

Hi there - just surfed over from Pup's blogroll. I had to comment becasue I too saw this bumpersticker last week and wrote a post about it :). Mine's a bit different (yours is much more well-thought out) but a fun parallel all the same. Great minds think alike ...

Have a good one ~

Posted by: clew at May 17, 2006 2:33 PM

Your daughter is seriously the cutest. And I envy your constant access to the Gaussian Blur effect.

Posted by: Coleen at May 17, 2006 2:46 PM

Somewhere I read somebody wrote something like this:

If you ask a class of kindergardeners "Who here can sing?", every hand goes up. "Who here can dance?" Every hand goes us. Ask a group of 25 year olds and you get a bunch of embarrassed looks and not a single hand. Someplace between 5 and 25, we lose our natural self confidence, and our ability to do what we think we can.

I'm not sure why this happens to us but it does. I know at some point when I was about 30, I realized that I would never become president, or a rock star, or an astronaut, or a famous Nobel Prize winner. I had missed the starting gate for all those things and I was too far down this path to go back. I sometimes wonder, if I had been forced out of choices like those, or if I had walked away from it myself.

Posted by: Jon in Michigan at May 17, 2006 2:48 PM

What do you mean? I AM what I wanted to become. Everyday, I'm 12! :) And I'm proud to say I had a few Thin Mints for breakfast this morning. Heh.

Although...I'm not the space exploring pop-rock star and columnist I wanted to be...

Posted by: oakley at May 17, 2006 3:09 PM

Excellent post, Chris. Sure has me thinking.

Posted by: Jenn at May 17, 2006 3:25 PM

So, you two wanted to become a couple of freaks? Mission accomplished, I'd say ;)

Posted by: RSM at May 17, 2006 4:44 PM

I love you!!! I dont think your blog could get any better!!!!

Posted by: Kelly M. at May 17, 2006 5:34 PM

CUte, very cute. And you are right on. We take life way too seriously. But Chris, I don't think I could have made it as a Prima Ballerina.

Posted by: Melissa at May 17, 2006 5:41 PM

I love this post!! I really do. I have had a shitty day and your post really made me smile...so, thank you!

Oh, and, I got a concusion from smashing my head into a headboard made of solid oak a few years ago. I'd arrived in the middle of the night at a friend's, after a long road trip and was just so psyched to jump into bed that I literally, jumped-into-bed. Ouch.

I am thrilled to see that someone else out there has also done something as ridiculous as this. You're good people. :)

Posted by: Jill at May 17, 2006 5:49 PM

Hi! Long time no see!!! I lost you but now I found you again.

I wanted to be Mrs. Wayne Gretzky when I grew up. Sad to say he's still married to that gambling ho of a wife of his.

I jumped on my bed a few days ago when my hockey team won it's game and I too hit my head on the ceiling.

Nice seeing you again!

Posted by: Grace at May 17, 2006 6:06 PM

I wish there was a way to favorite posts on people's blogs, like there is on Livejournal. I mean, I know there's del.icio.us and everything, and bookmarking, but I wish there was some universally defined way of being like "these are the best posts by other people that I've ever read" because this one would go right to the top of my list.

I had chocolate for lunch. You proud?

Posted by: ku nkiko at May 17, 2006 6:52 PM

I'm trying to remember. Really.

Posted by: wordgirl at May 17, 2006 7:11 PM

Yay! Thanks.

Posted by: bmh at May 18, 2006 12:42 AM

YAAAAAYYYYYY!!!! My new mantra (and blog) is Changing My Destiny One Day at a Time. I'm NOT gonna be stuck where I am!

Posted by: Heather at May 18, 2006 11:00 AM

Excellent post. (And I love the accompanying pics!)

Posted by: Kristina at May 18, 2006 11:15 AM

What a good post! :)

Posted by: Dana at May 18, 2006 2:25 PM

Thank you.

Posted by: Brenda at May 18, 2006 3:20 PM

I never knew who I wanted to become. Is that sad? I'm still finding out.

Posted by: SMIT at May 18, 2006 11:23 PM

Well said. :)

Posted by: Zandria at May 19, 2006 11:56 PM

I just re-found you. I remember you from Haiku Smackdown. I was going by Spammit then. This is a wonderful post.

Posted by: a at May 20, 2006 1:07 AM

Ahhh, inspiration! My husband once dislocated his ankle doing dirt jumps on his BMX bike. He was in college too. :)

Posted by: catbird at May 20, 2006 12:28 PM

Dude. Excellent reminder.

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