Are you who you want to be?

Published 8:54 pm Tuesday, April 14, 2020

By Nathan Rice

 I’m an observer. I guess some people would call me a people watcher. I can’t help but watch people when I’m out. I also enjoy watching cultural trends and trying to determine why people act the way they do. People are a fascinating breed!

I’ve been watching people and the cultural trends since the beginning of the coronavirus. It’s been interesting seeing how people react to this new experience. There’s nothing else I’ve experienced like this time, and I pray there is never another time in my life for me to compare the current situation. Therefore, I’ve been watching even closer.


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I’ve seen two sides during the past month. There have been news stories of brave, selfless and courageous acts by many people. There have been times when selfish, mean and hateful acts have dominated the headlines. Some people have handed out needed supplies to neighbors, while others have purchased all they could in an attempt to sell it for a vast increase in price during the shortage.

The virus, as so many have already said, has revealed the character of many people. My question for all of us is a simple one, and it comes from a song first released by Switchfoot in 2003. The song’s repeating line in the chorus is something we should all be asking ourselves. “This is your life. Are you who you want to be?”

I hope that all of us have had the opportunity to pause to examine how we have reacted to the events that are transpiring around us. It’s hard not to respond in a way that reveals our true colors during difficult or scary times. Too often, however, we never look back to determine if how we reacted reflects the person we want to be.

Now is a great time for each of us to examine our actions over the past few weeks. It’s easy to point to others and say, “See what they did,” but we should be more interested in how we acted. After all, we can only change ourselves.

So, take a look back at the past few weeks. Be honest with yourself, and answer the question, “Am I who I want to be?” Did you act in a manner that reflects who you want to be, or did you allow fear, worry or selfishness to get the better of you?

If you are happy with the way you responded, be thankful that you were able to be who you wanted to be. You can be proud of yourself without being vain.

If you aren’t happy with how you responded, take some time to consider how you can change. Stop using the excuse that it’s just who you are or that you’re too old to change. Consider these past few weeks a lesson, and take steps to improve yourself. It may not happen overnight, but you can grow, improve and do better.

Answer the question honestly. It’s your life. Are you who you want to be?


Nathan Rice is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at