Thursday, 1 January 2009

THE PLAY'S THE THING

Last night we watched “The Bucket List” starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. And in spite of Roger Ebert’s acerbic critique, we thoroughly enjoyed it. Jack was his usual rascally self, a persona that he has successfully cultivated on and off screen. The premise is simple. Two men, confronting imminent death, make a wish list of things they would like to do before they kick the bucket, so to speak. It is somehow a fitting theme to ponder on New Year’s Day.

Despite the fact that my sister always keeps her resolutions... (in a drawer) and that others consider this annual ritual silly and futile, I enjoy contemplating the year ahead, making plans, exploring possibilities. In doing so, it seems worthwhile to examine one’s own persona, if only to determine what will or will not be remotely possible. As Shakespeare said, “All the world’s stage/ And all the men and women merely players.” Well, discounting the word, “merely”, I think we all know that old Willy had us tagged correctly.

As we emerge from the sturm and drang of childhood, we take on various roles: wife, mother, friend, neighbour, career colleague. These roles become our identity points. And, like the career actors of the world, we have a persona, which is sometimes different from the self we live with, one that we present to the world, recalibrating to suit others, or the circumstances.

So, who are we really? Is there a self that we can pinpoint, readily identify. How many of us can easily answer the question. “Who am I?” More specifically, “Who am I, aside from external associations, deep down in the core of my being?

Maybe the answer doesn’t matter. Maybe identity cannot be determined in a vacuum. Like any good photograph the foreground is defined by its background. But, aha, a photograph is a two-dimensional figure, and we are not. In fact, just as psychologists are now realizing, there are multiple types of intelligences, so too, our characters, personalities, soul-selves are multi-layered, multi-faceted entities.

I will make my usual checklist this year: Lose more weight; get more exercise; declutter home and mind; do unto others, etc. But, in addition, this year, and thanks to Jack, I am going to try to do some things I have never done before. The list is not yet fully compiled. Of course, it includes finishing my novel. But I am also thinking about exploring new territory, areas of life that I have never tread before. I may tread lightly and tentatively at first. But who knows where my quest might lead, or what aspect of myself I might discover in the process. I will keep you posted.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Marylou,

We met yesterday, quite by chance, in Starbucks. It was really neat to connect with an actual person about blogging, since I have never met anyone who blogged locally. I submitted my term paper on the topic today, and I look forward to keeping in touch with you (if you are interested) as I move onto the planning phase of my major research project this semester.

Take care,

Caitlin
(email: caitlin AT mountaincable DOT net)

Dave said...

Well, please don't keep us in suspense. No fair if you play hdie and seek all year.

Pray tell where you plan to tread where you have never treaded before. That way we can follow your progress, share your innermost feelings, live subliminally sipping our Starbucks as you chart the uncharted of your life.

Wisewebwoman said...

Yes please. What Dave said.
XO
WWW

Marylou said...

Thanks for noticing, WWW. I have been tracking your blog for awhile...fascinated by all things Irish...My modest starting point, (oh daring me, of black turtle neck sweater fame)...is a new leopard print outfit...But, hey, one day (counting down from 365)at a time...