One’s Origins: A Journey from Adoption to Identity – Part Nineteen

In Part Eighteen I revealed a few of my most vicious demons. In Part Nineteen I will begin to share a few things I have learned while confronting them. I will endeavor to share them with you in a way that invites you to reflect inward so that hopefully you too will learn a little bit more about yourself of which you have either not been aware, nor have yet accepted.

In the hopes of maintaining some semblance of organization, I have arranged all I have learned into three areas where we engage with the world and universe. We engage though our labor, our family and ourselves. In Part Nineteen I will discuss labor.


Labor is a catch-all word I chose to describe how we contribute to society. Our labor, physical and mental, is how we contribute to the pool of resources available from which all are to benefit. In many cultures, one’s labor is predetermined by the family or class in which they are born. For most of civilization, childhood dreams took the backseat to the needs of the family or village. That we now have the freedom to choose how we contribute to the world is a relatively recent shift that allows us to do so while pursuing our dreams. This is both a blessing and a curse. Some of us latch on to a dream and the script for getting there is pretty straight forward. Get good grades in school and become marketable in high paying professions. Others don’t have scripts written for them. Some in the arts might dream of wealth but wealth does not dominate their dreams. Creativity dominates their dreams and creativity has no script. Some of us find conflict between these and the tug of war between heart and mind can be merciless.

We were all once children and we all had dreams. (The lucky among us still do dream regardless of age.) Some of us have the courage to follow our dreams and some of us don’t. There is not a one-size-fits-all answer as to why. I believe much of it has to do with fear. Success is the unknown and the unknown is what we fear. This explains why the successful appear to become more so over time. For them success becomes less of an unknown, so fear diminishes. I have become aware that success is what I have feared more than failure. Graham Nash nailed it.

“Look around. You know you must go for what you wanted.
Look at all my friends who did and got what they deserved.”[1]

Dreams are our compass. Following that compass involves three steps. Step one is faith. We must have indomitable faith that we can accomplish anything we wish. Our faith must be so strong that we see our success as a foregone conclusion. I do not mean this in an arrogant way but rather a confidant one. We have more input into the creation of our lives after birth than most of us realize. Those who do realize that we ourselves hold the reigns of our own lives are the ones who have successfully developed faith. Step two is commitment. We must be fully committed to our dreams, or we never make it out of the starting gate. At our core, it is our commitment that gives us the strength to pick ourselves up when we are down. This level of commitment is needed to have the fortitude to bust through any obstacle. We first need the will to get back up, faith provides that, and commitment is the muscle. Step three is where most dream chasers begin to falter. Step three is only completed when we rid ourselves of all concern we might have for the opinions of others. Regardless of whether they are opining on us for our dreams or how we pursue them, or they are opining on a subject of which is of personal importance to us. We cannot let it matter. It is only their opinion and we are DOA at the doorsteps of our dreams if we allow the opinions of others influence us. Again, this is framed in the context of confidence, not arrogance. Those who master this third step have little left with which to contend on their path to the fulfillment of their dreams and satisfaction in life.

So, what do I do with this information now? I look back and I see clearly that I had always been a romantic but eventually tried to conquer the classical world.[2] This, I feel, is where so much personal suffering can be found in people who constantly wonder and wander throughout their lives. It’s no wonder we cannot find what we are looking for. We are looking in the wrong place.

It would truly be senseless for me to scrap any part of my past in the wild hope of becoming now who I might have become if I held true to my romantically centered dreams. I am who I am now. I am not who I was then. I will never be who I might have become because I will always only be who I have become. I can always be who I want to become.

I now have been classically educated and employed for over 30 years. What I can do is relieve myself of old dreams of amassing prestige and wealth for their own sake and re-acquaint myself with the romantic I was born to be. Given what I have consistently observed in the classical world, an infusion of the romantic view is long overdue. Perhaps, just perhaps, being romantically born and classically bred, I might just be where I can contribute what I am meant to contribute to the world.

What does this mean for Matt Gorman going forward? Life is never that easy as to just give me or anyone a magic answer. We are given hearts and within them we will find our answer. While I was writing One’s Origins, I was invited to give a phone interview for a job for which I was, by-and-large, well-qualified. I was out for practice for interviews, but I believe I held my own with the technical discussions. I was asked at the end of the interview what I enjoy doing. I am a staunch believer that the higher up one ascends the ranks to roles of either management or leadership, personality and relatability become at least of equal importance with technical competence[3]. I made the assumption that her question was to learn a bit about my non-technical side. I hesitated for all of about one second before answering, “I enjoy writing.” If this was the kind of answer she was looking for, then that’s great! If this was not the kind of answer she was looking for, then that’s great also. It’s great no matter the outcome because it’s the truth. I enjoy writing. I enjoy writing more than anything else but why is this? When I go back and read what I wrote in journals over the past twenty or even thirty years, I read words of complaint and bitterness. I read words written by a man crying out in pain. That’s it! I have been in pain for most of my life and not until I began this journey have I ever granted myself permission to share one word of this with anybody. Hell, I would not even allow myself to acknowledge my pain. Revealing pain is for the weak I thought. The written word has always been the only place where I could find safety in intimacy.

My emotions are found in my writing. My labor is found in my writing. I am found in my writing. Realizing this, I can cease my labor instructing my identity to allow my identity to instruct my labor.

Now that I have a better idea of my identity where labor is concerned.  What does Family have to say about my identity. That will be the subject of Part Twenty. See you there!

(If you are wondering, the outcome from my phone interview did not lead to anything further and that’s ok.)

[1] “Wasted On The Way” written by Graham Nash; Lyrics © Spirit Music Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

[2] Refer to this video for an explanation of the romantic vs. classical personalities.

[3] Authors Chris Malone and Susan Fiske brilliantly illustrate the relationship between warmth and competence in their 2013 book The Human Brand.

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