There is a song by the R&B group En Vogue that says:
“Before you can read me you gotta’ learn how to see me, I said free your mind and the rest will follow.”
Those words ring true in my life.
This past holiday season, I used my time off work spending quiet time with myself. I am facing major challenges and I wanted to assess what I feel and don’t feel and what I want from the rest of my life. I assessed my weaknesses and strengths and then planned how to get where I wanted to go. I thought about all of those who love me and whom I love, and smiled. Being middle age, does not mean that everything is done and dusted in life; age must never prevent any of us from pressing the ‘reset’ button on our life’s path.
If you free your mind, you can learn how (and when) to press that button and do things differently.
Being realistic, while we may want to free our minds from other people’s fears, priorities, expectations, we must participate within society and follow the laws and social rules that exist. This is not to say, however, that laws cannot be amended or rescinded or that social rules are cast in stone. If there is a barrier imprisons your mind, resist it! Use every legal tool available, set reasonable expectations and defend your right to be YOU!
I find that so many people get sucked into situations they do not like, and go to places they do not desire, simply be because they are acting like sheep instead of human beings.
Our young people need to take note of what I am saying. All too often, people who don’t even like the taste of alcoholic drinks, imbibe merely because their peers are doing it too. There are those who don’t like a particular hair or clothing styles and yet, wear these things because of social pressure. There are people being mean to others even when they know it is wrong. But, they want to ‘fit in’ to someone else’s standards so they do things they don’t really like.
People need to free their minds from the sheep mentality and make their own choices. If you drink, do so because YOU want to! If you wear a style, do so because it looks good on YOU! If you speak about a subject, use your own words and passion.
At the end of the day, we all are born and die ALONE. What we do in life is judged, alone. There is nothing sillier than a law-breaker standing in court telling a judge that they did something illegal because “everyone else was doing it.” That fool will serve his/her sentence in jail, ALONE.
When we are pressured to follow other people’s ‘to do lists’, we need to push back. It is NOT easy, but it must be done lest we be subsumed by other people’s dreams and priorities and abandon our own; we must avoid living our lives as a footnote in someone else’s story.
This is not to say that people who want to live according to their own priorities should be contrary to other people’s needs just for the sake of being an individual. Laws and societal moral standards are in place for a reason and should not be abandoned because of individual or frivolous whims. I have met too many people who are so determined to ‘be themselves’ at all costs, that they selfishly trample on the priorities of everyone around them as they ram their values down everyone else’s throats.
Compromise is necessary at times. No one knows everything and is ALWAYS right (or always wrong!) But, too much compromise is selling out who you are; too little compromise means you end up living and dying all alone.
Few things are easy in life. However, the first step is to know yourself and free your mind; the rest will follow.