Voted Most Likely...

Philosophy by Starbucks
Originally uploaded by Ann Douglas.
Every high school yearbook has a section for the outgoing Seniors that is a light-hearted speculation about what certain classmates are going to do with their life. Mine was no different. Categories were created and votes were taken. The end result was Jennifer Greenrood and I were voted “Most Likely To Change The World.”

I can’t speak for Jennifer and whether she has achieved such ends. I haven’t seen her or most of those people with whom I enjoyed high school since the day we walked out into the Texas humidity in our black polyester graduation gowns and said goodbye. I’ve been too busy trying to change the world. Ok, not really. But at some level I think I have…and it’s tiring, draining and something’s not right.

It’s not that I have spent the years trying to answer to what a bunch of goofy teenagers decided was to be my fate. Somewhere before the votes came, before high school even, and long sense afterwards, I have had such amorous notions as to believe that it might just be possible to change the world. Though, I have never quite known exactly what the change would be or from where it would come, and who would really want my idea, or yours for that matter, of the changed world?

I’ve held more jobs than you can shake a stick at, worked in more occupational fields than is proper, in various countries and states; my CV is more a record of adventures than a career, all of which has given me another title amongst friends as a renaissance man – “Jack-of-all-trades and Master of None” – as my friend Katie Herzig once sang. The accumulation of such skills has not been the fall-out that comes from “finding one’s self.” It has more to do with my genetic wiring from the men in my family than anything else. Something I only recently have learned to embrace instead of apologize for.

Somewhere in all this dream and ambition, I more and more adjusted my life to live up to other’s expectations. Kind of a given since I don’t know anybody who doesn’t. I mean after all, they expected me to change the world. I am already 33 and what have I done about it? The pressure is on, right? Or maybe it’s not.

Since being in my 30s, I have less and less given heed to those voices of expectation, even as they linger around like stray alley cats at a fish market. It was back in Bono’s younger days that he sang the words, “I can’t change the world, but I can change the world in me.” And 20-some-odd years later, he is actually changing the world outside of himself. My guess is, that it first started with the world inside and is still an ongoing process for him. Watch any recent interviews with him and you will see what I mean.

Mehtinks there is truth in the bard. For all these years since leaving my robe and mortarboard behind in Texas, the world that has changed the most has been the one inside. And even then, I feel like it’s just getting started. The cost of that change is killing off all the ‘voted most-likely’ scenarios. Once they are dead its amazing how much freedom there is to move about and into the person God had in mind when he had me in mind.

And maybe, just maybe, that is where the rest of the world gets changed…

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