Excerpted from Living a Life of Gratitude: Your Journey to Grace, Joy & Healing, by Sara Wiseman
Be your own Platypus
A study was done of the platypus, the venomous, egg-laying duck- billed, web-footed, beaver-tailed mammal which lives in Australia. The study set out to determine the genome of the animal, or the entirely of the animal’s hereditary information. Where did it come from? What was it made of? How did this particular animal contain so many parts of different species: reptile, bird, mammal?
The results of the study, an exhaustive sequencing of 2.2 billion DNA base pairs and 18,500 genes, was inconclusive. Nobody knew how, or why or what had caused the platypus to be the amazing mix that it was.
And yet, this study did not stop the platypus from being, living, or enjoying itself as it walked around in its home down under! It did not stop the platypus from eating food with its duck-like bill, or waddling with its web feet, or recreating its progeny in platypus eggs.
In fact, the study affected the platypus in no way whatsoever.
We spend an inordinate amount of time in our young adulthood (or later on in life if we have been too busy going to school or raising a family or building a career in our young adulthood to tend to these questions,) of trying to figure out who we are.
What is our heredity? Who do we come from? What do we look like? What are our characteristics? What are our gifts? We try to plot and assess and figure out ourselves based on our likes, dislikes and characteristics … when really, none of it matters.
You may be man or woman. You may be of this race or that, or a mix of many races. You may have hair of any color, or no hair. You may be short, tall or in between. You may be from Europe, Africa, Asia, America or anywhere else on earth. You may have a talent for music, dance, science, writing or holding someone’s hand.
None of this really matters.
Certainly, the particular mix of genomes that make you up as a person make you unique—there’s no one like you. But there’s also nobody like anyone else. We’re all unique—so what’s the big deal?
When we stop looking at the particulars of our differences, and instead begin to see the particulars of sameness … this is where things get really interesting.
We’re all as uniquely unique as anyone else, as anything else on the planet.
It’s a passage of young adulthood in which we discover who we are, we claim our right to be different, we become concerned with who we are.
In later years, we are no longer concerned with this question, this way of sorting or separating ourselves into this category or that. We are happy enough, just to be.
Stop trying to determine who you are, stop trying to tell your story. Just let it rest, and find quiet gratitude for what and who you are. Instead of trying to look at all the ways you are different from everyone else, or unique, or special, simply your own platypus, a mix of everything. Be grateful, that we are a mix of everything.
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