“ Imitate people you look up to until you can look up to yourself.” Alexi Pappas
When I was in high school, like a lot of young teens I looked up to older guys. Without realizing it, I became a little annoying as I tagged along. One day, a friend let me know he didn’t want me inviting myself everywhere. He did this in front of one of my oldest and most faithful friends, so I was a little embarrassed.
Though I didn’t know it at the time, he actually did me quite the favor. That moment, which occurred in class during 10th grade, actually represented a change of mind for me. I realized that no matter how much I looked up to someone else, I should never forget myself. And I never did.
This is not to say for one second that I stopped having heroes. In fact, I surround myself with heroes as much as I possibly can.
The heroes of my youth were often professional athletes or recording artists. In those days, we didn’t really know about any foibles, and when we found out, we were crestfallen.
These days, I can see the challenges my friends have and it doesn’t lessen my admiration. I know that they may be disappointed in their careers or squabble with their relatives or have bad habits.
With that said, what makes a hero? It’s someone who tries to maintain a positive attitude when things are not perfect. Someone who says “This is where I’m going and I’m going to take you with me.” Someone who does the same work when no one is looking as when others are around.
I freely imitate my friends because I know it will make me a better person. I imitate the way Blaire prioritizes joy. I imitate Susan’s compassion and desire to include everyone. I imitate the way Sarah combines strength and love. I imitate Jamie’s desire to make a difference in the world. I imitate Robin’s nurturing spirit. My friends are a team of superheroes who spring into action when the world needs a lift.
When properly done, living is not about dependence or independence, but rather interdependence. We become heroes to each other, bringing our gifts in exchange for theirs.