“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” – Martin Luther
I recently celebrated my forty-seventh birthday and as I get closer to that magic number of fifty, I’m realizing there are fewer things that impact me the way they did when I was younger. Even as recent as five years ago. I’m not sure if it’s the actual age I am or the frickin crap that has occurred in my life along the way, but regardless of my disposition, patience and demeanor about BS and unsolicited drama my mindset has certainly changed over the years. I believe it is a place we all come to at some point in our lives, at least I hope it is.
That moment when we can look in the mirror and say to ourselves and the world, “Here I am, take it or leave it, because I am good!” Not that we have thrown in the towel on personal growth and development, respect and care for others or a passion for life, but we refuse to allow others (every & anyone else) to influence how we think and move about in our lives. I can recall a conversation I had with my father several months ago about the death of his parents. Once his mother passed away, he was parent-less at around sixty years old. He says to me, “Now that I don’t have a mother or father in the earth, who can tell me what to do?” I thought about what he said and I get it. It’s not that his parents were still giving him life instructions at sixty years old, but they were the ones that represented some framework of authority over him. Now that they are deceased, their influence is as well, so the game has changed forever. Quite simply he does what the hell he wants without permission or concern for others. Not necessarily in a disrespectful manner, but more matter of factly. I ‘ll do it now and ask questions later is pretty much his disposition.
So my question is, what does it take for us to come to the place when we finally begin to live our lives like tomorrow is not promised, not just in word, but with authentic action? Maybe the better question is when do we start acting like a grown-up?
Now I understand that by definition being a grown-up is not just about having the freedom to do what you want when you want, but it is equally about taking responsibility for your actions. However for this post I want to focus on the freedom portion, because as much as we want to believe we live free lives, bound only by our convictions, we are not. We still remain tethered to past issues, broken childhood promises and our own self-inflicted hang-ups. Therefore we cannot fully live free lives. We cannot dance like no one is watching, we cannot express our love in meaningful ways to the one we love the most, we cannot dare ourselves to take a different path because we frickin care about breaking the mode, rocking the boat and disrupting the status quo. So we remain on the sidelines of life in bondage to what others will say, what others will think and how others will respond to our now hidden messages, beliefs or ideas.
To remain true to this website I’ll share a personal story, because I love telling my business to the world. (NOT!) But I realize someone can benefit from it. During the end of my second, nine-month long marriage, although the demise was mostly my fault, there was a period that I had hope it was going to work out, somehow someway. Then one day my ex-wife sent me an email that she would be getting the remainder of her things. I recall that day I came home to an almost empty house and shortly after I was served with the infamous papers and the rest is history, albeit a hard history. My point in mentioning this is not to highlight that she was/is bad person, but she had made up her mind what she was doing and why she was going through with it. She did not call me to consult or see what I thought. She made her decision despite my opinions. Although I was deeply hurt, I respect the fact (today, not then) that she did what she felt was best for her, period. If you have ever heard of the, “dropping the mike” phrase, that is what it looks like. Today I can smile about this and appreciate the strength it must have taken for her to leave our marriage. She had enough and was done (with me). I use to think, “I could never just do that to anyone”, but I realize tomorrow is not promised to us (and not that I advocate divorce), but we must choose to live our lives free of what others think about our decisions and why we make them, even if you are the one that will suffer the most from it.
Everyday, like you I am faced with circumstances that force me to make difficult or questionable decisions. Ones that will certainly cause my family and close friends to question my forethought or perhaps my good judgement. Sometimes they get it right. Sometimes I definitely do seek their guidance, but often times I do not. Why, because I don’t need a permission slip to do what I feel is best for me. I feel like as long as I am paying my own bills and not borrowing money from them, they have no right to verbally question how I choose to live my life as long as I am being respectful towards them and myself. And I must be clear that being respectful does not always equate to being nice, it simply means that you’re speaking your truth, whether the recipient wants to hear it or not.
Once upon a time I certainly did care about what everyone thought. I was like a mouse attempting to hide from a cat. I consulted everyone I knew just to be sure, but I have learned as I grow wiser and get older those things that once mattered like, opinions of others, misunderstandings from others or the thought of others talking behind my back simply mean nothing to me today.
Now I cannot say if this is due to my age or I’m experiencing a paradigm shift. Quite possibly it is a combination of them both. Whatever the cause I am happy to be here and content that I have arrived at this place, at this time in my life. I am grateful and blessed that I still have both of my parents living and they both continue to enrich my life in very meaningful ways to this day. However I equally understand that I am now three years short of being a half of a century old and the idea that I require permission or affirmation from them for anything is ludicrous, so why would I think I need it from anyone else?
The answer is simple, I don’t. So I going to make the latter half of my life better, more dynamic, even more carefree in some cases. I’m going to live in the moment, and make my next marriage (my last) and love her with the best love I have to give. All she will know is that, the rest won’t matter because I will be living my best life and living it like tomorrow is not promised.