The definition of devotion ~ love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity or cause.
I’ll start with love. I have been fortunate in this life to have experienced an abundance of it. Some did not end well, but it was love. Some did not last forever, but it was love. Some left behind better memories than others, but it was love. I will start with the blessing of unconditional love. My first.My mother. She loved me dearly and completely throughout her life. That gift helped form my psyche and my soul and although I lost her while we were each far, far too young, I know her unconditional love was one of my life’s greatest blessings. Occasions I was far too young to remember, immortalized in old pictures, remind me of the feelings I have to this day whenever I think of Emmy. Safe. Loved.
Many people know that a person’s character and personality is largely established by the time they are very young. The traits that will define that individual throughout his or her life can be clearly identified when he or she is as little as 7 years old. In a new investigation, scientists show that, by the time they start going to school, children already exhibit the personality traits that will remain with them throughout their lives. This was clearly established in a new paper, written by experts at the University of California in Riverside (UCR), LiveScience reports.
“We remain recognizably the same person. This speaks to the importance of understanding personality because it does follow us wherever we go across time and contexts,” says UCR PhD candidate Christopher Nave, who was also the author of the new investigation. The scientist used information on about 2,400 ethnically diverse schoolchildren, which he collected from the conclusions of a study conducted in the 1960. Full details of the work will be published in an upcoming issue of the esteemed medical journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
All the children in the old study were in grades 1 through 6, the expert says. The UCR research group looked at personality ratings that teachers had given to 144 of the test subjects. Now, 40 years after the original study, these individuals were tracked down and then interviewed. The experts looked for modifications in four major personality traits, and namely verbal fluency, adaptability to new situations, self-humbling behavior, and impulsiveness.
The researchers learned that children who had proven to be talkative from an early age were very likely to become highly intelligent individuals later on in life. They were capable of speaking fluently, and exhibited a tendency to try and control situations. Conversely, first graders who scored lower in verbal fluency while in school tended to seek more advice from others, and general trigger awkward interpersonal situations.
“Life events still influence our behaviors, yet we must acknowledge the power of personality in understanding future behavior as well.” Additional studies should “help us understand how personality is related to behavior as well as examine the extent to which we may be able to change our personality,” the team leader concludes.
I found this information fascinating, as in my case being “talkative” also lead to being “class clown,” as a defensive mechanism to thwart social awkwardness in junior high school. But I also consider my sense of humor one of my best qualities. Exhibiting a tendency to try and control situations? Guilty as charged.
Highly intelligent? My romantic proclivities might make that generalized assessment questionable.
Let’s just say I didn’t marry for the right reasons, did marry for the wrong reasons and had one heart-breaking draw. In my forties I believed being single was my lot in life and was more than content with it. I’d also gone into therapy and let’s just say I am living proof that mental health, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, can be purchased. Just as my heart caught up with my mind with the realization that being alone and lonely really were two very different things fate stepped in.I accepted a job at a radio station in Los Angeles ~ KEARTH 101. I’d been offered the job three times and turned it down. As is often true, timing was truly everything. Jay was aware of me before I became aware of him. Not necessarily for the best of reasons as it seemed I bore a startling first glance resemblance to an ex-wife. As he told me later, “her looks were not the problem,” but it added to a strange several first encounters between us. We began to run into one another in the halls ~ literally. I’d turn a corner and there he was. We had a curious conversation about reading spiritual books in a jaccuzzi and began a pithy e-mail exchange. Imagine his surprise when I told him my ex-husband had been one of the Four Preps? Imagine my surprise when he produced a picture that bookended him and said ex-husband. We met for lunch and he said “what are you looking for?” Given my past predilection for older men, I replied, “I’d like to date someone who was in my same decade.” He smiled and said “you are now,” as we walked up to our cars parked next to one another on the crowded Beverly Hills street. It was just that simple. We waited almost a year to marry ~ I was convinced something this easy couldn’t possibly last. We were amazingly compatible and had happy, good times together. As I used to say, worst job ever but I got a great husband out of it. Then there was that fork that happens to each and every one of us on the road of life when the good times take a detour. Within six months cancer and a lost job came into our picture and although there were tears and sadness, there was also love. Through the tough times a good relationship became a marriage forged in steel. The good times returned, as did the hurdles, but what remains constant is the fact that I once again received unconditional love. And was able to give it in return.
I guess it’s true that those early lessons remain imprinted on the soul, just waiting to be called upon during our lifetime.
This morning, a ten year old rescue golden retriever sits on my foot as I dry my hair because the “booms” at Camp Pendleton scare him. I put down the hair dryer, pat his head and assure him all will be well.
Because the best unconditional love goes both ways.