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by Carole Carson, AARP, November 3, 2009
In the theater of life, there are three distinct roles: actor, reactor, and detractor.
The actor stands on stage and creates a commanding presence. The audience is compelled, even thrilled, to observe and listen. Creating a mood and an irresistible reality, the actor draws the audience into the scene.
The reactor sits in the audience passively enjoying the performance, all the while admiring the skill and discipline of the scene-stealer. Perhaps the reactor has an impulse to get on stage and perform. But inertia or fear of leaving the comfortable seat and easygoing companions holds the reactor back.
The detractor refuses to applaud, refuses to laugh at the jokes, and leaves at intermission.
Which one are you?
Do you get up each morning determined to take center stage in your life? To eat healthfully? To exercise the beautiful body you have been given stewardship of? Or do you watch others move forward in their lives as they lose weight and gain a circle of new friends? Are you content to maintain the status quo even though you know the performance you are watching may draw to a close before you are ready?
Or are you the person who ridicules the "health nuts"? Are you the one who tells your doctor that because you've lived this long, you can do as you darn well please?
At different times, I've played all three roles. The detractor role is too negative for me to sustain long term, because I'm essentially a happy person. The reactor role is one I'd love to adopt, but it isn't very satisfying, particularly when I see what is possible. In the end, I choose the stage, even if I fall flat on my face while performing.
Our choice of roles—actor, reactor, or detractor—is revealed in decisions we make throughout the day. This self-awareness can be freeing. It can help us decide what to eat, whether to exercise, and what kind of outlook to adopt. This same insight makes us keenly aware of the consequences that flow from each of our decisions.
I'd guess if you're reading this, you're definitely on stage with me. Let the performance begin.
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