I find it fascinating and inspiring that the people who will often say that I’ve accomplished things they never could and continue to do things they still can’t imagine doing are the very same people that never stop trying to get me to do things their way. They’re so programmed that they cannot see — even while being jealous of me — that I’m not capable of living by The Formula.
I never set out to be different. I’m just doing life the best way I know how — for myself and for my daughters. That usually means that I don’t see things the way the average government-schooled, college educated person sees it. I could have chosen that path. I was in National Honor Society and even “Who’s Who Among American High School Students.” I could have done law school at Harvard or Yale and then Congress and the Senate and… Dear, God. Just the thought of it makes me wanna vomit. (I could still choose it now. But I would fail on that path because I have the one thing that will prevent the success of a whore — self-respect.)
It would have been a whole lot easier and a lot less fun to follow that path. It also has no promise of great reward. I don’t have much yet but I’m not done. On that path nothing would have ever been mine. On this path, everything I ever achieve is entirely mine to be shared only with those I can persuade to take the ride with me. I owe no one anything that I haven’t negotiated in a voluntary, value-for-value relationship.
I understand this isn’t for everyone. I don’t judge others who choose the easy and boring path. But that doesn’t stop them from judging me! I don’t sleep when they think I should. I don’t sleep as much as they think I should… except for the times when I sleep far more than they think I should. I eat too much, drink too much and smoke too much. Except for those times when I don’t eat enough. I spend way too much money except for the times when I’m being way too tight with my money. I also seem to always spend it on the wrong things. Just like I eat either too much or too little of all the wrong and right things.
I’m not changing — either what I do or how I do it — based just on your opinion. If you have useful advice, I’m all ears, always. I’m determined to remain teachable for all of my life. That’s Wisdom. But please stop offering advice for which I haven’t asked in venues where it’s completely inappropriate and don’t ever offer it unless you have actually accomplished something that inspires me. If you’ve never done anything I would like to do, I don’t care how you did it and you probably have no insight that applies to me. (Those offering parenting advice, please take special note of that part.)
With very few exceptions, I’m probably not asking you to go with me on this ride. If you can’t handle big peaks and wild falls, you’re not tall enough to ride this ride anyway. Most of the people that offer me unsolicited advice are the same ones that would’ve puked at least three or four times a year and begged to get off the ride while sitting in the back seat of my life for the last seven years.
That doesn’t stop them from slapping me on the back and telling me how amazed they are at how well I’ve handled it all and how much I’ve accomplished in spite of it all, then – in the same breath – telling me that I need to go to bed earlier, stop staying up for days at a time, get up earlier, work harder or not work so much… ad infinitum.
I can’t live by your rules, Man! What’s more — brace yourself — I’m raising my daughters the same way I live and it’s none of your business.
I’ll close this with the immortal words of the great philosopher, Pee Wee Herman:
You don’t wanna get mixed up with a guy like me. I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel.
I’m not a rebel by choice. But I’m fine with it. Maybe you should be too if it has absolutely nothing to do with you.