What we were is not who we are—and who we are is not who we will be. I believe this because from birth to death, each of us influences someone else, and someone else influences us. Without question, we affect those close to us, and they affect us.
As proof, I suggest we ask those close to us as children, teens, and adults, to tell you who they thought you were as a child, teenager, and young adult (student, worker, father, mother, friend, etc.). In other words, How did they experience
you? This is an impossible request if the person is an acquaintance. They must be close to you at certain ages.
Because I wanted to know myself, I recently called a person I grew up with. He and I were the last two survivors of our gang in Chicago from 1933 to the second world war, when most of us served in the military. I asked him to tell me what kind of kid I was, what I was as a teenager and as an adult.
His answer blew me away. He said I was always the best listener and a leader as a teen. I was totally blind to that. After the war, I went to UCLA and opened a Day Camp. After leaving the Navy, my friend came to Los Angeles to work at the camp. I pushed him to return to Chicago and get an education.
He returned to Chicago, earned a Ph.D., and became a principal and an outstanding educator. He told me that I made him what he became. I doubt that but look at what he achieved!
We are both examples of who we were and who we became and are. I believe life is a series of incidents and serendipitous events. We came out from the Great Depression, the streets of a ghetto, and a world war and evolved into who we are and maybe to still become. Remember the “Fat Lady?” She has yet to sing.