“I lost something magical in the process of growing up – my disillusionment.”
When I was younger I found myself looking for mentors and idols. People whom I could pattern myself after, intellectually and spiritually if not in every way possible. I would espouse their ideas, like what they liked, smoke what they smoked and then they would go and blow it by being human. They would say or do something that showed me that they had flaws and that was it. Now all their ideas were suspect and the last thing I wanted to do was to be like them. Luckily there were lots of would be mentors out there whether they wanted the job or not. With each one I would become a bit more disillusioned and cynical. I believed that few people deserved to be looked up to and that I would just create myself.
Then one day when someone came to me for advice, I found myself telling a story that one of my old teachers had told me to help resolve a similar situation. I had been telling the story for years. Considering it a bit more, I became surprised at how often I did this. I would tell jokes or stories or use concepts very similar to the ones used by influences I had discarded. I realized that while my style is my own I am a combination of every influence I ever allowed myself. There were amazing things I had learned from some of the worst people. Waves of gratitude (and perhaps a bit of chagrin at how long this realization took) passed through me for not only those whom had mentored me but for everyone I had encountered. I forgave them their failings (or at least allowed myself to understand them better) and became both more accepting of myself and others but more appreciative of the gifts that each of us have.
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