Monday 11 June 2012

"New Rules"

"I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well." ~ Diane Ackerman

What does it mean to truly "live" your life? Does it mean surviving the ups and downs? Does it mean following the rules? Or does it mean something else?

I am inclined to agree with Ms. Ackerman - there is something more to it than simply the years lived. But how do we live the width of it and what does that really mean? Well, I think that the road that we each choose to get there will look different but in the end, it's all the same - living a truly authentic life, one in which we make up our own rules.

How often in life do we do things simply because we "should" or because "it's expected of me"? Too many times to count. In my last post I must have touched a nerve because it was one of my most popular, one that lots of you contacted me about. You told me that it resonated with you and that you were trying to find ways to become more YOU - not someone else's version of who you should be. I think that another step in that direction, in the search for authenticity, is to challenge the rules. What feels right to you? What doesn't? Bend the rules. Break some. And completely rewrite others.

I am going to use my mom as an example (pretty sure she won't mind!). She is the mom of adult children and a grandmother and she defies all expectations of what that should look like. She loves Bruno Mars and Adam Levine from Maroon 5. She's super silly. She loves a good debate about politics or religion. And she didn't put aside her hobbies and opinions when she got married 43 years ago, like many from her generation seemed to do. Kudos to my dad who didn't ask her to. She didn't let the expectations of society in the late '60's hold her back and she still follows her own path.

I recently stumbled across something on Pinterest that caught my attention: "Incomplete Manifesto For Change" by Bruce Mau. I have no idea who Bruce Mau is or what his complete manifesto (!) might look like but I kinda like what I saw:
#14: Don't Be Cool
#15: Ask Stupid Questions
#18: Stay up Late

Pretty sure that Mau is on to something. If I were to have my own manifesto, it might look something like this:
#1: Be Silly and Don't Apologize For It
#7: Be an Awesome Version of YOU
#16: Write Your Own Rules (then break some!)

If you follow the rules that others set for you, you might live long. But doesn't living the width of your life sound pretty fun? As the great American writer and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Do your thing."

KB xo

P.S. For the record, my dad hasn't let rules define him either. He was often the family cook when my brother and I were growing up and he does a mean load of laundry!

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