I personally believe that a person’s field of experience plays a very pivotal role in defining who that person is. With that in mind, there are definitely countless experiences and accomplishments that made me who I am. It is said that a person’s field of experience is the sum of all experiences that have ever happened to that person since birth. As such, the things that make me who I am are the people I meet, the things I am exposed to every day, and the things that I do. In my life, I continuously meet new people. These people help form me.
Whenever I meet someone, especially if I get to know them well enough, that person leaves his or her mark on me. Friends, family, and strangers have all contributed to my edification. The kindness I see in some of them make me realize that if you are nice to people, they will, more often than not, reciprocate your kindness. Likewise, the blind idealism I’ve seen in some of them made me understand that the world is not a place full of sunshine and rainbows. I once had a friend who was going through a very difficult time in his life. I saw him suffer at the hands of typhoon Ondoy.
The next time I saw him, he was practically homeless. His grades plummeted and he told me he kept seeing flashes of the flood happening again and again. I assumed there was no hope for him. I thought he was falling in a downward spiral. That taught me life isn’t always fair. Sometimes we go through hardships that we have done nothing to deserve, but, as the days went by, I saw that same person get back on his feet, beat the odds, and persevere despite what he went through. This taught me that, no matter what happens, we must remember that God will always be with us, and His grace abounds.
The things I am exposed to every day can be anything from what I read, what I see on a billboard, or even what I smell on the way to the cafeteria. These things help me stimulate my thoughts and reach certain realizations that help in my formation. For example, when I was at Lake Tahoe, I remember seeing a snowflake fall on my hand. When I was staring at my garden at home, I saw a petal from a flower fall down to the floor. Those things didn’t mean anything to me then, but just recently, I understood that they can mean so much more.
Something as beautiful as a snowflake or flower petal falling only lasts so long. The snowflake melts, and the petal withers and dies. It made me realize that the best things in life are simply the fleeting moments that come and go in a blink of an eye. That only means we need to enjoy the falling of the snowflake or the petal even more, and we can always wait for the next one to fall. My actions have caused me both great joy and deep sorrow. There are things I regret doing and there are opportunities I have missed.
Despite it all, I still say the both the things I have done, and things I could have but didn’t do all contributed to my current self. If even one decision I’ve ever made or action I’ve ever done, no matter how seemingly insignificant, was changed, I probably wouldn’t be who I am today. If I decided not to go with my grandmother to the hospital; if didn’t suggest that she go take the helpers home and leave me there; even if I decided to stop by 7-Eleven on my way up the stairs to buy a Coke, I wouldn’t have been the only one there to see my great-aunt die.
If I didn’t experience that, I would definitely be different. How I would have turned out, I do not know. All I know is whatever I do or don’t do contributes to my field of experience. Our fields of experience make us who we are. Everything that we’ve ever been through makes us who we are. Everything we see, everything we feel, every person we meet, and everything that we do help define us. As our life goes on, we continuously change. Minds broaden or narrow. Skills may sharpen or dull. Ideas may spark to life or wither and die. It is up to us whether these changes are for the better or for the worse.