I missed the moment when I stopped thinking about what parts of me came from my mother and which from my father. The temperament – mother. The talent – father. That sort of thing. At some point in time, I started thinking of myself as a whole person, rather than a tangled mishmash of my parents’ genealogies. Why is this important?

For myself, I worried that I might grow up repeating the same mistakes, or maybe that I wouldn’t measure up.

Would I abandon the people I loved? Would I try to harm myself? Would I follow my grandparents into alcoholism?

We all make our own decisions. It’s the only way we discover ourselves, or create who we want to be out of the myriad possibilities we contain. The more we choose where we want to go, instead of floating along wherever mercurial moods might swing, the more we can feel in control of our direction.

No matter how tenuous the stability of the outside world might become, who we are inside can remain solid and reliable if we choose it.