In forty-five years, I have worn numerous hats, many of them worn briefly and then set aside on the shelf. The experiences gained through them become an integrated and permanent part of me, contributing to who I have become and of whom I will be in the future. Therefore, I must acknowledge all of these hats, for without them, I would be a very different person.
Family is the beginning of everyone’s journey in life and is probably the most significant of the hats you wear. Everyone starts as either a daughter or a son. People are born with two parents, although some have only a single parent raising them. In either case, the lessons you learn from your parents will remain with you throughout your life. They are at the core of who you are and of who you will become. Even those who come from an abusive environment can take away valuable lessons, to make their life and the lives of their children better. No matter how bad or how good your upbringing, you will always be their son or daughter.
I was fortunate to have two caring parents to nurture me and guide me, not only in the beginning of my life, but long after I reached adulthood. They are the people I look up to, draw strength from and admire. I strive to model my life in the same manner that they have lived theirs, for they are decent and good people and worth emulating. Long after they have pas...
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...her son relationship turned into adult friendship. He respected me as an adult and a friend, often taking advice from me as readily as he gave it to me. His passing in July 2008 was very hard on my family and I. The strength of his memory allowed me to forge on and remain strong for the rest of the family. I placed both of their hats in a special place, their memories and our experiences together forever infused with me.
I have discussed many of the different hats I have worn, but not all. Each one is a sliver of my life, some larger than others. Separately, some they maybe the same hat you wear or have worn. People have many hats in common. When you add them together and combine all of their experiences, the result is unparalleled and complex individual. Who am I? How would I define myself? I am the sum of all of the “hats” in my life. I am Ed McElroy.
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