Who am I?

This is not another fun-filled factoplus about he who is The Jack (for all your AC/DC fans). Instead, I want to ask you a question that, at first blush, seems incredibly easy. But the further you dig into the question, you realize just how complicated it is. The question in question…Who are you? I can already see the look on your face: You start to answer but then quickly retract your attempt to recoup and rethink.

Hearken back…way, way, way back to high school. There yet? I know, for some of us it’s a much longer trip. Anyway…as we walked through the hallowed halls of Sunnydale High, it was easy to take for granted how simple things were and how categorized everything was. No matter how much we rebelled against being forced into a box, we were. You were:

  • A jock
  • A nerd
  • A band geek
  • A drama queen
  • A goth
  • A prep
  • A cheerleader
  • A member of a Scooby Gang or a Slayer

The list goes on and on (and certainly varies depending upon location). Once you get beyond the realm of school, things aren’t quite so easy. Life becomes about survival (for some, that challenge is greater than others). Financial, familial, health, and other concerns fall into the fore and we struggle, on a daily basis, to know who we are. Some try to make the answer simple by stating, “I’m a Christian”. But how? Some default to their career of choice as an answer — “I’m an accountant at X.” Some opt to use their parental title — “I’m a mother of three wonderful…”.

If I am asked the question, my answer might sound like a cliche of words tossed together to sound like some form of snarky sentiment. “I’m a complex amalgamation of character traits that come together to form a more cohesive union in a single, Caucasian package.”

Next please.

No, seriously…I’m like a puzzle. Apart, my pieces are useless. Together, however, those pieces come together to make a maddening whole that is Jack Wallen, Jr.

  • Writer
  • Husband
  • Father
  • Narrator
  • Cyclist
  • “ista” of film, TV, and music
  • Digital artist
  • Crazy cat person

If you remove any one of the above pieces (there are probably much more than what you see listed), you no longer have the truest end product. Add into that mix, history and past experiences and the mixture becomes ever-more complicated. To toss another mouse into the cat trap, we have to take change into consideration. We are constantly evolving. For twenty years of my life I was an actor. That chapter came to a close a few years ago. BLAMO, out of the mix. But the experiences still help to define me.

Confused much?

We drive ourselves forward in order to do one thing — enjoy our time on the planet. Relatively speaking, that time is incredibly short. You may get 70-100 years. Desperate to grow up, you think that time is forever. The second you are an autonomous adult, that length of time is drastically shortened — or so it seems (remember, time is a constant — or so we’re told). With that in mind, what purpose does it serve to categorize something that is constantly changing? I would hold that we should never say “I am X”. A better answer would be “A part of me is X”.

Compartmentalization only serves to narrow our minds and lives. Keep yourself open to not only experiencing life, but for adding new pieces into your unique whole. Give into the temptation to expand  your vision and your scope and your life will be far richer.