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Go Ahead And Live Your Best Life

I don't quite know when it happened, but it did. When did the opinions of other people become so important (or so we thought) that it began to weigh us down? For so long I have found myself worried and concerned about what others thought or had to say, that it challenged my 45 year old self from doing the simplest things.

I have been contemplating this so much lately, because for many years I was questioning myself with things like, “can I do this or wear this after 40?” I allowed these questions to shut me down from venturing out in new ways, or just simply doing something because it was what I wanted to do. I tried thinking back and I wondered if it may have begun in my childhood.

As children we were often encouraged to seek out excellence in the form of choosing a certain career path. My grandfather was an immigrant who came to this country with a determination to have a better life than the one he left behind in Jamaica. He wanted and worked hard for a good life for his children and grandchildren. As early as I can remember, he would encourage us to be doctors or lawyers because these occupations were thought to mean you were successful and accomplished. While these are great careers, is it the only measure of success? Absolutely not. However, if we're not careful we can take on the weight of other people's ideas (as harmless as they may be) and they can prevent us from finding our true purpose and living life to its fullest.

This may seem trivial, but those opinions affected things in my life like my school path, what I wore, and my confidence. How is it that I still ask questions like, is it ok for me to wear distressed jeans, three-inch shorts, or even braces? I waited five years too long to get braces, and I almost backed out at the last minute because I was concerned about what people would say. Now when I look at them, I like them on me, and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again even at 45. I guess we live, we learn, and hopefully we grow.

I think I'm in a different space now as relates to doing what I want to do and what makes me happy. Although there are things that sometimes try to creep into my mind to cause me to doubt myself, I've gotten a bit better with having an honest conversation with myself and sorting through my wants and desires. So go ahead and wear the shorts you like, study what you love, and go after everything you want in life. We only have one life to live, and it’s up to us to live it to the fullest. Tell me what things you haven’t done because you were worried about other people’s opinions?


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