On Facebook and Twitter there are many temptations when interacting with others, especially in the comment sections, to just type instant reactions to what you are thinking with no filter. Most of us can get away with that but what if you are a “somebody” you are defined by that title. It is no longer appropriate to say certain things or say them in a way that could offend someone. The problem with that is the moment an opinion is expressed there is a high likelihood that it will offend someone, somewhere and so it can feel quite stifling and prison-like when trying to cling to the positive opinion of many people.
I often rebel against being labeled. I certainly don’t want to be labeled anything important because that takes away my Freedom to shoot my mouth, or in this case my fingers, off the way I like to. My current status or lack there of affords me the luxury to just put it out there and let the chips fall where they may. The disadvantage to that scenario is that I am just me. I don’t have much power on my own to influence anything. However, I do have Freedom.
I look to those who are considered leaders, celebrities, general famous people and I see how some turn into virtual contortionists trying to stay in favor with the public. It is what must be done for fame and fortune. However, there is a small group of people who manage to stay fairly authentic, to be able to have a shoot-from-the-hip communication style and still be able to stay famous. Anderson Cooper, Oprah Winfrey, Ralf Nader and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are just a few that come to mind off-hand.
I don’t know if these people have shaped their personal lives in a way that may be thought less authentic in order to be accepted by the masses. Only they know that. Yet it is well known when scandals come out how many people feel they need to live a shadow life to be themselves and keep their position in society at the same time.
We appreciate people who can stay authentic. People who speak from a space of knowledge, walk their talk and seem to hold a standard of integrity and truth. They seem to care. One teacher told me once “People want to know how much you care, before they care how much you know.” And I feel that is true.
The public allows those that seem to really care more latitude in the things they say and do as long as they are in alignment with the power they hold. Those who crave more power and fame must also embrace that because their opinions hold more power they must be much more thoughtful about expressing them and in their lifestyle choices. Because frankly it means more.
Is the fame and power worth the lack of Freedom? That is for each individual to decide for themselves. Maybe it is just a matter of trading one brand of Freedom for another?
As I approach my magical 40th birthday I begin to think about age. My mom is twenty years older than me and we talked about how the way you feel does not always match the number of your age. She still feels young and I have a joke if you are as old as you feel I am about 95! At least I feel that way some days, other days I am in my early twenties or any of the many other ages I have had the good fortune to be able to experience.
George Carlin did a great bit about age and how you get to keep all of the other ages you once were. Is age a number, a state of mind, why does it matter what the number is? We need to know when we are 5 so we know when to go to school, when we are 16 to be able to drive, 18 is when we become adults in America, 21 legally able to drink alcohol, 25 is a reduction in car insurance premiums, 35 for women is when the biological clock starts to tick, not too much going on until 65 the current time of retirement though many are working longer now, but you can join AARP at 50 and get your senior discount. After that there is a long quiet black void as every night you go to sleep to play the life lotto game to see if you wake up the next morning until one day you don’t.
That’s quite simplistic though. Abe Lincoln had a great quote “It’s not the years in your life, it’s the life in your years.” That seems true to me. It’s about the living we do, what we pack into the time we’ve got that matters. What difference does a number make? I’m not just saying that because I am turning 40 either. I think 40 is a fabulous age for a woman to be. I’m the most confident, most independent and self-empowered I have felt during this whole time I’ve been on this planet. I love this age!
Many talk about being younger but when I was younger, I felt obligated to take in so much more of what everyone else thought. I needed a man to want me so I could have children, I needed an employer to like me so I can have a job, I needed the teacher to like me so I could get a good grade. Now, although it’s great to be liked, I don’t have to be. I don’t feel the need so much to sacrifice who I am to assimilate and I love that feeling. I think that is the best present to receive in my 40th year.
So what’s in an age? Just a human created number allowing the government to properly track us for civil planning and census counts, it’s a ticker that lets us know how far we’ve come? I think a higher age number is a great testament to survival and that is pretty cool in my opinion.
Part thirteen in the A-Z series. M is for Memories.
What is the meaning of life? This question has haunted humans over the ages. Philosophers ponder it, writers write about it, artists paint about it and at some point it seems the question comes to each individual at some point in their life demanding some sort of answer.
In someways the answer is very specific to each life experience what is a particular human beings optimum potential. That is an answer that must ultimately be answered through the journey of living for each person. However, it seems there is a Universal purpose of meaning of life… to create memories.
In the end if we are afforded the luxury of basking in old-age that which is amassed as treasure are the many stories that a person is able to tell about their time here on the planet. Your personal record, field journal, biography, epic or not so epic legend to be told for the ages. What fills the pages of your book of life?
Waking up in the morning each person has the opportunity to create memories for a lifetime. What memories are you capable of creating? What stories do you want to be able to tell? What is keeping you from creating these memories? Are these challenges able to be overcome?
Some call it a bucket list. A list of things that people want to accomplish before they die. However, this is grandiose in nature. Create a memorable moment everyday. Just a little something special. My youngest child taught me this when she was old enough to appreciate her birthday and decided that everyday should be her birthday. And why not? Why can’t all of our days be a version of our birthday? Maybe not blown all out as the actual day might be but in little ways that mean a lot. Our favorite breakfast, lunch with friends, a small treat to make us smile, a tasty dinner, cuddling and connecting with those we love. Why not do that to some degree everyday?
Our life is a series of memories. What memories are you creating for yourself?
Hello everyone. I am taking part in an A-Z blog happening with a writer’s group of mine as such I will be creating a blog for each letter in the alphabet. This is the A blog and it stands for Authentic.
Growing up like many children of the 1970’s we watched Sesame Street and they told us to Be Yourself. However the actual truth of the matter is that most people do not want us to be ourselves. Especially if what we are makes them uncomfortable.
Now that I am approaching forty, a very liberating time of life for a woman I might add. I am finally beginning to understand and live my authentic self. To find out if you are living an authentic life it all comes down to motivation. What motivates you? What gets you going? Don’t be so quick to answer you are your motivator because many times it is not true.
This became evident to me the other night when I was talking with my five year old daughter. She loves to fix hair and I often find the remnants of her hair cutting exploits on the floor. The other night she asked me if she could cut my hair. Me, being a fairly self proclaimed free thinker immediately went into a thought script about “What will people think of my hair? What if she messes it up?” and on and on. I had to stop myself and think for a moment “How did I get so wrapped up in my hair?” And believe me I am far from the girls of glamor that spend hours and hundreds of dollars on my hair.
In the end I let her cut my hair. Just for the mere fact of experiencing the Freedom of being myself. That is what in that moment I authentically wanted to do was to allow my daughter the experience of cutting my hair. I have a lot of it and it didn’t turn out bad which is a bonus. It was freeing to authentically be motivated in my life journey. Not conforming into the expression that has been set for me by some unknown “They”. I highly recommend doing one totally free thing today. Something authentically and uniquely you.
A is for Authentic.