Why do we do the things we do? To feel safe? To have an experience that will benefit us in some way? Because that thing is easy? Because that thing is hard? These are all motivations for our actions, but they don’t explain the irrational things we do or are attracted to doing.
I had a conversation with my friend Derrick yesterday over coffee. I shared with him how much I wanted to return to France for a lengthier stay. “Why are you so drawn to France? What’s the attraction?”, he asked me.
I replied quickly, “I’m not sure. It’s a recent thing, really. I love the language; it’s so beautiful.” I paused for a moment, then continued in a more thoughtful vein, “You know I really believe that part of what calls me to spend time in France is my parents. They both loved the language. My dad loved visiting France, getting to know the locals, and taking in the French countryside. Perhaps this desire comes from them.”
This realization wasn’t a new one, however. It made me think of a poem I’d written a couple of years ago, a poem that has crossed my mind more than once this week. Why do you do the things you do? What makes you tick? Is the answer in your genes?
Here’s the poem. Enjoy!
Inheritance (or, The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree)
I am my mother’s daughter.
I am my father’s child.
No longer do I resist this fate,
Though I had for quite a while.
Forging my own identity
In my tender youth
I chose different paths to roam,
I thought I’d found my truth.
But now both are lost to me
And in their wakes it’s clear
Their essence is etched upon my soul
An inheritance I no longer fear.
The timbre of my voice,
The cadence of my stride,
Even my hearty belly laugh –
All reflections of my tribe.
But more than physical features
Have been handed down to me
Their thwarted hopes and dreams
Transfused, are ready to be set free.
Photo Credit: Peter Morgan