Seneca points out the obvious. We didn’t get to choose our parents. They were given to us by chance. (And even if we don’t like the fate that chance gave us, it’s worth remembering that there is no other option. It’s these parents or no parents and no life). But then he makes an interesting point. He says that while we cannot choose our parents, “we can choose whose children we would like to be.”
By that, he means we decide what tradition we’re going to hail from. We decide, with our actions and our beliefs, whose heir we will decide to be.
So, are you the child of Linda and Steve from Omaha? Or are you the descendent of the ancient Stoics and all their wisdom? Are you the offspring of a drunken deadbeat or are you the product of a caring mentor you’ve sought out and modeled your life after? Are you the result of sperm and egg from two random strangers or are you the progeny of [insert the influences] and the [inspiring actions] that you choose to admire?
Where and who you came from, that’s an external that not only remains outside our control, it is part of the past. The present, the future self we want to be–that’s on us. That’s up to us.