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Choices and Changes

“Every breath I take is a new me.” — Gautama Buddha

“Life happens between an inhale and an exhale.” – from a random Dove chocolate wrapper

Each of us changes. We aren’t who we were yesterday, nor will we be the same person tomorrow that will surely react and adapt to the influences of today. We must own our actions, but we must also recognize that the person who did the things we once did isn’t who we are now. Simple, right?

Not when those around you treat you as the character you once were. How many co-workers put you in a bucket based on the role you had when you walked in the door the first time? How many reunions turn into stories of things you did way back when, with scant focus on who you are now? How many family events center on old nicknames and stories of the past?

Here’s the twist: What if we too are treating people based on the characters they used to be instead of who they are now? Doesn’t it seem more appropriate to learn who they are in this moment? The trick to engagement with any other soul is seeking first to understand, and then to be understood (Covey). Every moment counts, and progress requires our immediate attention!

We aren’t who we once were, but who we once were helped form our current identity. Personally, I’m grateful I’m not who I was at 18 or 30. Sure, there were some redeeming qualities in that character, but I prefer the new me, even if I don’t showcase the abs I had at 22 (too much chocolate?). The moment-to-moment choices we made between then and now brought us here. The moment-to-moment choices we make from now into our unknown future will surely determine who we’ll be then. So make good choices in this breath and the next.

Like the chocolate wrapper reminds, life is happening one way or the other now. Just look at how much we’ve changed already. Imagine where the next breath might take us should we use it wisely.

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