A very young friend (seven years old) of ours announced that she is now a vegetarian. She was quick to add, “But it’s not because Alegria is doing it!”
When I was young, we would go through all kinds of contorsions to avoid being labelled as a copycat. If your friend had an NFL jacket and you wanted one, you’d have to figure out the proper angle so you would have your own reasoning for getting such a jacket yourself.
I have no such problems these days. If I see someone doing something worthwhile and admirable, I will do exactly the same and will not hesitate to tell the world why I’m doing it.
I will copy my friend Blaire’s empathy.
I will copy my friend Aaron’s generosity.
I will copy my friend Sarah’s whole-heartedness.
I will copy my wife Robin’s compassion for the less fortunate.
And I will copy my friend Susan’s inclusiveness.
Even in superficial things, I emulate my friends. I’ll wear the same hoodie, watch the same TV shows, and read the same books. If it’s true that we become like the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time, then I’m all in.
We owe it to ourselves and the world to be exactly who we were meant to be, but we are a tapestry of everyone who has touched our lives.
I am my elementary school guidance counselor who told me, “I believe you make your own fate.”
I am my college work supervisor who demonstrated her concern by making sure I had what I needed during semester breaks.
I am my neighbor who often invited me to eat dinner with her family.
We are imbued with a unique soul, which then is influenced by our environment — nature and nurture. Adopting the virtues of the best people around us makes us like the best people. For that reason, I will be a copycat until the end.