To be a philosopher

I miss my grandparents. Both my maternal and paternal grandparents have passed away.

I have so many delightful memories of my grandparents. When I close my eyes, I not only ‘see’ these memories but I remember feelings – excitement for stories, play and treats, a strong sense of belonging, and marvel at the tales they’d tell. There were truly amazing tales from my grandparents – one was a psychiatrist, another was a medical doctor, one was a dean and professor, and the other was vice-chancellor and national scientist.

Joy comes to us from those we love, even when they are absent.Seneca

Growing up, I never knew their job titles though, in fact for most of my young childhood I was happily oblivious and the only thing that mattered was that they were there for me as I was growing up. As an adult, what matters is that I knew them and we nurtured a relationship. Not only that, they were mum and dad’s parents. I have their blood in my veins. They are part of my history and my identity. They’ve passed on traditions, language, culture and identity.

Be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant.Epictetus

A significant component of my research investigates identity from a psychological perspective. Outside the scholarly pursuit of knowledge, there are many moments where I reflect on what it would mean if I had not known my grandparents or one side of my family tree. Would I be the same person? Maybe, who knows? There is biological family and then there is the family that you find and the one you build.

To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school.. it is to solve some of the problems of life not only theoretically, but practically.Thoreau

There will be many more personal reflections on identity as I pursue a degree to be a Doctor of Philosophy. As challenging as this pursuit might be, it already bears fruit. How lovely to have this time to be able to enjoy my life, but have many moments to pause and savour while still having plenty of the future to look forward to. “As long as you live, keep learning how to live.” - Seneca

Tagged in What messes with your head, phd, reflection, Student life