I was thinking about Toy Story the other day. If you’ll recall, Buzz Lightyear is a toy. He thinks he’s an astronaut. Everyone around him knows that he’s a toy, but only Woody really attempts to correct him (and not kindly).
Eventually, Buzz discovers that he is, in fact, a toy. Although quite upset initially, by the end of the movie Buzz accepts that he is a toy—and being a toy is actually a good thing.
I am not a toy (I don’t think), but I’m still in the process of accepting that what I really am is a good thing (and not just during the fun times chasing my son around the couch).
I think that to be fulfilled you must, as the ancient Greeks would say, know thyself. I’m not saying that you have to spend a year backpacking through Asia or join the Peace Corps to “find yourself.” As André Gide said, “Whoever observes himself arrests his own development. A caterpillar who seeks to know himself would never become a butterfly.”
But to know who you really are—and accept it—is key to being fulfilled. Once you know who you really are, then you can decide if you are who you want to be, and grow and change in the direction of what you want to become.
How do I want to grow? I want to become more patient, more attentive and engaged with my son, and more kind toward my husband (and everyone else, too, I guess). I am a wife, a mother and a writer—all of which allow me to continue to grow and be fulfilled as a person.