| | |

That Person in the Middle

We each build our identity through our actions—on the people we become through our habits and relationships. As Jim Rohn pointed out, we are the average of the five people we associate with the most. There’s a lot of truth in this observation. The people around us influence us, and amplify our own actions and beliefs as we in turn influence them.

So what happens when the people we associate with the most begin to fall away? Someone fills the void, or perhaps nobody does, but either way the dynamic has changed. The pandemic surely taught us that relationships and routines are fragile things indeed. What we lean into when our circle begins to fall away will define who we become next. Our core identity often rises to the occasion in such moments, and it’s up to us to decide whether we like who that person is. Every day is an opportunity to change the story.

The thing is, we have agency. We may yet decide what to be and go be it. Stasis isn’t our natural state, by it’s very nature it’s what we settle for. We ought to stop settling and continue becoming. There’s more story to be written for us, friend. Consider Gordon Lightfoot, who just passed away. He was a notorious drinker, until he decided not to be. He became healthy and active when he changed the people he spent his time with:

“I love Canada. I’ve traveled all over the North in various canoe expeditions. Fortunately, I… fell in with a group of people about 30 years ago who were into canoe trips. I got into it and over a period of about 15 years I did ten trips. I’ve done a lot of the major rivers in Northern Canada — the Coppermine, the Back River, the Nahanni, the Churchill. I feel very fortunate about being born in Canada. Never really wanted to leave.” — Gordon Lightfoot, “Gordon Lightfoot on Meeting Miles, Canadian Canoe Trips and That One Time with Ozzy”, The Exclaim! Questionnaire

There’s a heavy dose of identity in these words. Not just about being Canadian, but about being out there exploring the wilderness of Canada. This is a man who became something far more than a heavy-drinking musician. It almost certainly extended his active lifetime by many years.

And what of us? What is our identity, and who are we becoming through our associations and habits? We must continue to play an active role in writing a story worthy of a lifetime, for our entire lifetime. People inevitably come and go in our time. What we’ll always have is the person in the middle.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply