Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Your Way

I love advice. 

Let me rephrase that. 
I love sound advice that doesn't put me in debt or institutions. 

Last night with cold hands and a running nose I stood in the driveway of an old friend. We caught up about family, work and life in general. We had just finished taking photos of her wonderful family and we had some time to catch up on "us" before I headed back across the state line.

"If I could tell you anything, it's this," she said, petting the old dog's head which stood nearly at her hip. "You can listen to advice from a lot of people, but in the end, make sure you do things your way."

What perfect advice.
For a newlywed.
Or a 55-year old going through a divorce. 
Or a 16-year old trying to figure things out. 
Or a 34-year old who is leaving that steady paycheck to go out on a limb. 
What perfect advice. 

In this storm of life, somehow we forget that it is really pretty awesome to be true to one's self. Because of current media and eroding values and parents who want to be friends, we live in a population that strives to be just like the next. 
The next door neighbor. 
The next online sensation. 
The gal that sits next to you in algebra. 

If God wanted two of you, He would have made them. 

Oddly enough, we have learned to base our decisions - and lives - on advice from people who have absolutely never lived a day in our boots. They may have similar experiences, but they've never, ever been us

Why do we weigh others' opinions so heavily against those of our own?
Why do we discount what our own souls tell us is right and true?
Well, I'm not really sure. 
And I really hope you didn't read this today to find a scientific answer...
I had to take chemistry twice at Purdue. 

But I do know that I felt 110% better the day I marched into my high school and declared I'd do things my way. 
Sadly, that was a dream I had when I was 22. 
But if I had to do it over...

I know this: Expectations are high.
We're expected to follow trends. 
We're expected to fit a certain mold when it comes to fashion or timelines or beauty. 
We're expected to do more than our fathers did in order to move progress along. 
We're expected to be more maternal than our mothers. 

But what about the needs of our own?
Tune out to what is popular. 
Dial in to you. 

We only get so many trips around the sun. 
So many years. 
So many months. 
So few weeks and days. 
The hours? They are pass through our hands more quickly than the change from a five dollar bill. 

Why in the world would you not do things your way?  

The idea of being untrue to yourself takes me back to my favorite quote:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” - Marianne Williamson 

We shouldn't be preparing the path that we can travel with ease with the rest of the world, but rather preparing ourselves to travel any path we'd like.

Remember what Stacy said: You can listen to advice from a lot of people, but in the end, make sure you do things your way.

For instance, I didn't take the advice of the weather man and did things my way last night.  Now my ferns, boots and three pair of jeans that we're drying outside are covered in snow. It turns out that my way, is also the hard way...  

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