We Are What We Are


When born, if we are lucky, our minds and bodies are wonderful pieces of equipment ready and capable of performing unbelievable tasks all by themselves in keeping us alive and carrying us through a long, healthy and progressive life.

First are things like heartbeat, breathing, body temperature and a nervous system to help us determine what is best for us to think and do. Then as we grow and learn, hopefully we choose the thought processes and both physical and mental activities that will best take us where we want to go.

In short, we are equipped — and expected — to determine and achieve both the directions we want to travel and the mind and body that will get us there. Accordingly, it is first up to us to keep both this machine and its pilot healthy and headed in the right direction. There are many choices ahead of us, both good and bad. Given the many influences on us, however, the final choices we make are those made all by ourselves.

Let me pass on a life theory. l do not remember where I read it. The intention was to suggest the way to a healthy, happy and productive life. The three health avenues that it suggested were to live, love and create. Simple enough, but there was a problem: if any of these wills were frustrated and our ongoing psychic energy being what it is, it would invoke its opposite. The will to live would become the will to die, love would become hate and the will to create would become the will to destroy.

At age 90, all too often I am seeing friends and relatives in hospital beds who are refusing to eat or even talk. That suggests they have given up. They are ready to die a peaceful death. Many divorced folks are quick to name as their most hated individual the very people they once had as best friends or beloved spouses. I remember many incidents in my own life when creation turned to destruction, such as ripping a failed creative writing attempt from my typewriter and throwing it across the room, or taking a failed woodworking project and hammering the hell out of it.

Each of us is different, having been molded throughout our lives in varying ways, but whatever we are, we made the most telling moves and decisions all by ourselves.

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Herb Austin (Childs)
Herb Austin (Childs) is retired military, 20 years in corrections (probation and parole), with a master's degree in Counseling and Guidance.


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