In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “From the Top.” If you had the chance to be reborn, would you choose to return as your present self, or would opt for a fresh start? Tell us about what motivates your choice.
If you believe as I do that most of who we are is determined by luck and the rest by genetics, you’ll think this is a pretty dumb prompt. But, since most people DON’T believe that, here goes.
I was born in 1952 to a set of people who had grown up during the Great Depression and been young adults during WW II. Only recently have I understood how CLOSE WW II was in time to the years of my childhood and what a profound effect it had on the world in which I grew up. If I’d been born 20, 10 or even 5 years earlier chances are the trajectory of my life would have been different. 20 years earlier I’d have grown up in the Great Depression and gone to school during WW II. I’d have known rationing and fear and my dad would have been gone. If I’d grown up ten years earlier I’d have hit young adulthood at the point where employment opportunities were starting to open up in a big way. Five years earlier and I’d have been old enough to have experienced the counter-culture movement of the sixties.
All that is just related to the historical moment in which I was born.
Then there is genetics. I’m a “victim” of genetics. I’m 5’1″ just like my grandmother. I am short and roundish with white, white, white hair. Just like my grandmother. The palms of my hands have the same lines as my other grandmother. The backs of my hands look like my dad’s. My “bird” fingers are my mom’s (a sweet bit of genetic irony). My doc alleges that my arthritis is genetic. I have no idea. No one on my mom’s side had a problem with this, nor did my paternal grandmother and my paternal grandfather didn’t live long enough to find out. I’m myopic — as was my father and several relatives on my mom’s side. I have higher than average IQ. My brother’s was higher still. We didn’t buy those at the store. I was lucky to be born in a time when girls could go to university and into a moment when Feminism was pushing against the walls of the male dominated world of business — but, the other side of that, all those men coming back from WW II, now I think they needed meaningful work and to know they were the king of their castle. I also know that the world changed during the war from overwhelmingly agrarian to burgeoning industrial (in my part of the world — the American West).
Luck and genetics.
I’m lucky now to live in a world in which I can have my joints replaced. 100 years ago? By now I’d be completely chair bound. The ONE ancestor I know of who had arthritis was my maternal great-grandmother on my grandfather’s side. My grandparents met when my grandma — then a teenager — came to care for and help my great-grandmother. When the old lady died, my grandparents married.
Is it luck?