I don’t like letting people down. In a sense, this almost ruined my life. I used to live my life based off of making other people happy. I loved people, but sometimes I was more interested in pleasing people than loving them and being loved by them. One of the things I’ve learned over the past few years is that you only go around once. I know this may seem obvious to you, but when you think about it, this can be both a heavy and/or light truth to accept.
A few years ago, one of my mentors said to me, “If you’re wondering what people are thinking about you right now, I have something to tell you. They’re not.”
At first it kind of hurt my feelings. I mean, here I was trying to make sure that everyone was okay with my decisions in life. Then, I realized no one really was thinking about me. That’s not to say my decisions don’t have a weight to them, nor to say that being a good influence isn’t important. It just means that people aren’t thinking about you a lot of the time, and that can be something that can really free you up. It can make life fun and exciting. And maybe a little bit scary. I mean, it could be scary if you’ve spent years trying to make other people happy by your decisions, and then decide that you’re actually going to do what you want. Why is it scary? Because change often feels scary. Especially if you haven’t done that before.
I guess what I’m saying is this: Just because your mom likes Cheerios doesn’t mean you have to have Cheerios for breakfast. If you like bacon and eggs, have yourself some bacon and eggs. And just because your dad wants you to be an accountant or a doctor doesn’t mean you have to be an accountant or a doctor. If you want to be a lawyer, or an entrepreneur, go for it. Just because your friends and everyone around you says you should date or marry that one person, if you don’t want to be with them, then don’t. Go after a person you would want to be with.
That probably sounds like a sweeping statement, and a bit overdramatic. Breakfast, Career, and Marriage. It might even sound condescending that someone is writing a blog to say, “Don’t let other people tell you what to do with your life.”
We only get one shot at this life though, and in 75 years, don’t look back frustrated because you did what you thought would make everyone else happy. They weren’t thinking about you during that time. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t happy with all of your decisions. Your not asking them to live for you. You don’t have to live for them.
I think at the end of our days, we’ll look at God and He’ll probably ask us what we did with the life He gave us. He’ll know the story, because He is God. And we will tell God about where we went, and what we did. Who we spent time with. And how we lived our lives.
I just don’t want to get to the end of my story, and see God smile at me and then kindly shake His head as He says, “If you didn’t like Cheerios, why did you eat Cheerios for all those years? Didn’t you know about Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch, Bacon, Eggs, Hashbrowns, and this magical little place called Waffle House?” That’s why I think it’s okay to let people down. Because Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch beats plain ol’ Cheerios 10 times out of 9. Because working a job you want to work is better than living someone else’s dream. Because love is better than pretending.
There is a world of excitement waiting for us. One of the most thrilling things is that we get to make our own choices, and then we are responsible for the lives we choose to live. Don’t live anybody else’s life. You don’t have time for that. Live your life.