Life, it’s a real pain in the arse sometimes. Growing up I was always a quiet gawky kid. So bookishly timid there wasn’t much going my way I suppose, and we quiet gawky ones? No one expects much from us, so we pretty much stay out of harm’s way in the “when daddy comes home you’re gonna be in big trouble” category. But the sad part about being that quiet, shy kid? No one really ever asks you what you want out of life. I mean, don’t get me wrong, they let you pick the flavors of ice cream you want, or where to go eat on your birthday, but the day to day decisions like what TV show you want to see, they all assume you will just follow in with their wishes. You know the kind of people we are, we are the ones who grow up to be “regular Joes” and “regular Joettes.” Those people who will live their entire life, working, having families, obeying laws, my friend Rob Goldstein calls us “people who grow up to be citizens.” You know the type; we work hard, help our elders and serve others before serving ourselves. Not much pomp and circumstance surrounds us, by golly. But that’s okay, because we accept our lot in life.
Or do we? Certainly there are times I wish I had spoken up more for myself, there were things I’d have rather seen or done or not left undone because someone said it was time to go. Just once I’d like to be the pick of the litter, the favored child. Just once. Or maybe twice, now that I think about it, I am human. At this point in my life, as an adult, I oft wonder if in reality, even though I will always be a citizen, I find it a moniker to be lauded, do I have to be a “regular Joette?” You would think yes, but every fiber of my being screams an absolute no. And I won’t settle on this one, I won’t allow anyone to make this decision for me. Uta Hagen once wrote, “Overcome the notion that you must be regular. It robs you of the chance to be extraordinary,” and I soundly agree. Being Joette is easy, it’s expected actually, your parents and adult supervisors have been training you for the position your entire life. Being Caoimhe, or Rob, or Peep, or any one of my number of friends, that is our ultimate destiny. Why follow when you can create your own destiny? We can be the catalyst for positive change; we just have to make the decision for ourselves. Go forth and do.
The take from? Don’t become a non-committing pacifist in your own life, because that life? It’s yours and the only one you are going to get. The person whose advice you keep following? They get to put their feet, and their nose, wherever they want on their own destiny. And when you have those moments of niggling self-doubt accompanied by the resonating sound of their voices in your ear whispering “I told you so”, remember, even if you make a mistake along the way (we all do, it’s inevitable), you will never be termed a failure unless you become satisfied with calling yourself one. Just something to think about on this soft slide into the weekend.