By the time you read this, I will have turned 40. And, yes, I’ve heard everyone I grew up with for the last couple years go through their varied reactions of how old they feel now. The thing is, I don’t. I don’t feel old at all. I might say I feel tired. World events and all the recent natural disasters from earthquakes to hurricanes to wildfires have made my heart weary. But, I don’t feel old. honestly, I feel lucky to have survived this long. There were kids in my high school class who didn’t even make it to graduation.
So, rather than talk about how much time has passed or how little is left, I’m going to go the (by now) blogging-cliché route and tell you all a list of things I’ve learned after four decades of living.
- Do not be afraid to be who you are out loud.
That’s it. There’s just the one big one. No, seriously. Get this one right and most of the rest won’t seem so bad.
Be who you are and don’t apologize for it. Just like the MCU’s Black Widow.You can’t be “all things to all people all the time”. You just can’t. The most important thing is to be who you want to be to yourself; be the person you want to see looking back at you in the mirror every morning.
It doesn’t matter who that person is. Are they a geek? Great! Are they a corporate manager? Fabulous! A free spirit? An artist? An engineer? Wonderful!
Will everybody like you? Probably not. Will some people flat out hate you? Likely. Will everybody like what you like? Nope. Will everybody agree with your opinions? Absolutely not.
And that’s okay. That’s neither the end of the world, nor even a major disaster. People come in all sizes, shapes, and colors with a variety of temperaments, preferences, and viewpoints. That’s natural. It’s good. It’s what makes life interesting.
Your job in this life isn’t to become what you think everyone else wants you to be — or even to become what they actually want you to be. Your job is to be who you are and to learn what that person contributes to this world. Contribution, not conformity, is the key.
…No, seriously. That was it.
Just the one lesson.