Wisdom of Graffiti

Many years ago when I was in high school is was in a classroom for the first time. I don’t remember if I was every in this room again and I clearly did not sit at the same desk again. I don’t even remember why I was there. What I have never forgotten (and it is over 35 years later) is the graffiti written on the top of the desk.

I wish I was what I was when I wanted to be what I am now.

Confusing at first but profound as one thinks about it. Or so I think anyway. I have no idea what prompted a high school student to write it. How many things can one wish for and reach at that young an age and regret already. But none the less it is a sentiment I have pondered over the years.

When I look at possible changes in who I am or at least what I do for a career or for other life changes I think long and hard about what it means to change. Will I later regret making a move? That is a question that has the potential to create paralyzing uncertainty and a certain stagnation if taken to extreme of course. One does have to take risks at times and often those risks are based on less than complete information.

So far I have never had to express the wish to be what I once was. I have moved forward to better things and a happier life. Even these days when I think about becoming a teacher again (what I was when I wanted to be what I am now) it is not because I don’t want to be what I am now. Rather it is because I see different roles for different parts of my life. I want to be what I am now more than I want to be what I was then. At least for right now. Are there other things I might like to be? Yes I think so but they are new things, things I need to work towards, and not a retreat to something I once was.

I think a little "want" to drive one forward is a good thing. I think it is also ok to want to move back to something, or to be someone, one was before. Not everything works out the way we expect or the way we hope. Second chances are good things and not to be feared.

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