I just spent a week vacation in the island of Puerto Rico. I saw family and friends, had several interesting conversations and one thing came to mind: when exactly do I stop pleasing everybody else and start doing me?
So the question to you today is simple: when do you do you? What do I mean? When do you stop paying attention to what others think or say about you and start doing what makes you happy? When do you stop listening to the internal voice that was mastered into your head by adults when you were young and start doing things that you know in your heart are right for you?
Now don’t think I am talking about doing illegal things or getting in trouble or cheating on a partner or spouse. Those things don’t feel right anyway. I am talking about starting to trust in your gut that you are doing the right thing for you. What I want to see is all of us do things and feeling secure in the knowledge that we are doing good things instead of second guessing ourselves every step of the way.
I give you an example. I have a friend that is married and has two children. Even though neither one of her children has ever been in trouble with the law, smokes or drinks, do drugs or behaves like a hoodlum, she is always wondering if she did the right thing or if she was a good mom. On the marriage front, she has been married to the guy for over 20 years and she is still hounded by the thought that the generation before her would not agree with the way she handles her marriage.
After talking to her for about an hour about her fears and concerns, I asked her what did her kids and husband think of what she was thinking. Interestingly enough, the husband reminded her that when they got married, they made a deal. As much as each of them loved their parents, they were not going to do things the way their parents did. They were purposefully going to do things differently. They would pick and choose what they liked about their upbringing and leave behind those parts that say that the woman is supposed to handle everything in the home and the man is supposed to come home to a clean house with dinner ready. Since they both work, they both share the responsibilities of the house. She had forgotten about that.
The kids on the other hand reminded her that their friends often came to her with advice because they felt that they could talk to her and she always gave them advice that would keep them out of trouble at home. She even helped them figure out ways to talk to their parents and make them feel like young adults.
Seems to me that she was doing a great job already.
There comes a time in everyone’s life when we must take responsibility for our own actions. There also is a time when you must take credit for what you do right. Live your life in your terms and stop wondering about what other people say.
Fascinating phenomenon: I love studying people and watching people. Facebook is great for that. You get to see the paradigms that determine your place in the world, and sometimes you can break them, or reinforce them. In my country there was a debate brewing over an election and my personal friends are divided right down the middle: those who were born at a certain economical level are saying YES and those who have money now and had to bust their butts to get it are saying NO, without fail. Coincidence? Oh, for my American friends, the argument is that the YES benefits those with money and the NO is for those who have no economic mean$$$ to defend themselves. And yes, both sides used social media to influence their consituents. The Yes side had a lot of money and the other side had more media influence. Commercials on TV might be great, they are just not as effective as a good set of viral videos on Youtube. At the end, the poor won and the country was no better.
Reality is that the reason for the debate does not matter, which is why I am not telling you what they were voting on. It is always the same, the rich want one thing, and the poor and those that defend the poor, want another. I do believe there is no greater divide in the planet than your place in the world. If you have the means and the way, you look at the world very different. Inside the rich, there are also two big groups: those who think that good deeds include making the goverment give help to the poor, and those who believe that charity alone should help the poor, and they give considerably. I personally believe that the best solution lies somewhere in the middle.
So who thinks that your socioeconomic status determines your point of view? And who thinks this is yet another paradigm that should be broken?
Lately, I have been noticing how much people hate aging, as if there was any way to avoid it. Newsflash: we are all getting old, even babies.
The latest example comes from a radio commercial. The only thing I remember about it is the lady announcer saying “Getting old stinks”. It is a very bad commercial because, apart from antagonizing me, I don’t even remember what the commercial was for. And I am not kidding. Ever since I heard it, and I heard it twice, I have been trying hard to figure out if it was for vitamin supplements or beauty cremes, or a car. I can’t for the life of me remember. And that, is when you know, the commercial is the one that stinks.
It also reminds me that there are a lot of people around that hate getting old. I am not talking about people who have platic surgery. I’m not talking about those who take supplements to regain their energy. I am simply talking about all those people who are just so embarassed about aging.
If it takes me the rest of my life to prove to the world that getting older is as much fun or more than being young, I guess I just found my mission in life. Think about it for a second: you don’t have to ask your parents permission to do anything, you don’t have to wait for your sibling to do it first, you don’t need anyone’s approval (so long as what you want to do is legal). You are smarter and you have more experience. You know what you want in life and you are not so concerned with what others think. You finally figured out that keeping up with the Jonesses is not fun and not fullfilling. It is your life and you want it to matter to you.
Think about other reasons why being older is more fun than staying young and dumb and send them to me in the comments below. Thanks.