05/17/2013 11:37 am ET Updated Jul 17, 2013

The Dangers of Being Tamed

We ask ourselves, "What will I do next?" when one stage of life transitions into the next. In music, a transition is a sudden, unprepared modulation -- which is a change of key.

Life in the key of see.

It started early one morning when I went to the grocery store to get a newspaper for my parents. (I'm taking care of my parents as they age. The gifts of conversations I have with them are priceless). I was unloading my basket of odds and ends as the person in front of me was paying and said to the cashier, "Yes, I knew her. She had just retired and then died." The cashier then said, "You know that happens quite often." Boom! I ran an immediate internal audit of my life and could hear what I'd heard so many times, "I'll wait until I retire and then I'll see what I do."

I drove home from the store still thinking about the casual exchange that now occupied my mind. I walked the paper inside and sat at the table where my mother was prepared to share out loud the news. She put on her glasses and said, "Let's see what's in the news."

As my parents and I sat at the table, my daughter came over to visit. My daughter just graduated from college and though her transition's ink is still wet, she's now faced with the burning question, being asked of her several times daily, "What are you going to do next?" She answers, "I hope to work in communications, but I'll see what I can find."

As the four of us sat at the table, the conversation bounced back and forth to current events viewed from three generations. The condition of the economy, job market and the world in general were all noteworthy topics. First, the economy: from my parents, "We'll have to see what the president can do to move things along." From myself, "We'll have to see if Congress can agree on something, anything." From my daughter, "I don't see much hope for the world." Next, the job market: from my parents, "We'll have to see if the president can do anything." From myself, "We'll see a change when we see ourselves change." From my daughter, "I don't see much hope for the world today." And lastly, the world in general: from my parents, "It's a different world out there. We'll just have to wait and see what happens." From myself, "I think we'll see the world change drastically in the next few years." and from my daughter, (long pause), "Gee, I am done seeing what we've done in this world. I want to be part of a different world."

One of the dangers of being tamed is we tend to live in the key of see. "Let's wait and see what life brings us." "We'll see what your father says." "Let's see what happens." "Let's see what the doctor says." "Let's see how I feel." "Let's wait and see, let's see what tomorrow brings, let's see ..." are all favorites in the key of see.

I was raised in the key of see. After my daughter finished speaking, I could see how much we live in the key of see. I vote for a transition to the key of "be and gee!" The keys of be and gee seem less passive than the key of see. The key of be expresses action and participation (Be the change), presence (Just Be) and peace (Be the Peace). The key of gee suggests awe, wonder, imagination, grandeur and appreciation.

Thank goodness for youth and those who aren't so tame. They can handle and appreciate a sudden modulation.