How do you know if the life you’re living is authentically yours or not? Good question, and one that I think is worth taking some time to explore. After all, you only live once, and don’t you want to live your life instead of living someone else’s version of it?
I have spent a huge chunk of my life, since I was a teenager I suppose, trying take my life for myself and make it truly mine. It has not been an overnight process for sure, so I’ve had to gauge my progress all along the way.
Anyway, I wrote out 24 ways to determine if the life your living is really yours. It was easily the length of four blog posts when I finished, so I decided to split it into four parts.
Here are the first six, I’ll try to do one each week. Some of them may seem silly or easy, but I promise you they’re not to everyone. And until you can claim all 24, I think there are still parts of your life that aren’t really yours.
I love living a life that is mine and no one else’s. It lets me give a huge and genuine part of my life to others, and it lets me make so many more of the right calls for me and my son.
Oh, and I know it probably sounds like the “my cure for it” sections are meant to be a joke, but I’m dead serious. Try them and see if I’m not right.
1. When you want to dance…
When you’re at a party, or a concert, or a sports game, or sitting in your car, or walking down the road, or in a supermarket, and you hear that music that makes you wanna start bouncing and swaying and moving, do you dance? Or do you not dance so that others won’t be able to judge you for it?
Until the day you can dance wherever you feel like busting a move (any move, even a suburban white-boy move), and be able to say “who cares who’s watching!” you’re living a life that isn’t actually yours.
My cure for those who can’t dance: Next time you pull up next to another car at an intersection, look the other driver dead in the eyes, and start doing the fishing reel dance move. Cast out your line. Reel them in. See if you can get them to do it with you, and tell yourself the entire time… I will never see this person again so who cares what they think. And remember. Dancing isn’t about being the best dancer. It’s about moving to the music, and when you do that, there is no bad dancing.
2. When you want to speak up…
When you’re sitting in a class, or you’re sitting among friends who are all enthusiastically discussing something, or you’re sitting in a jury room, or you’re sitting in church, or wherever you’re sitting, and you have something to add or say, do you say it? Or do you keep your mouth shut so that others won’t be able to judge you for it?
Until the day you can say whatever comes to your mind, no matter what comes to your mind, no matter what anyone else thinks about it, you’re living a life that isn’t actually yours.
My cure for those who can’t speak up: Next time you’re sitting in a group environment, raise your hand until the group leader (official or implied) calls on you, even if it’s the kind of thing where no one is raising their hands. Then, bock like a chicken. When everyone is trying to decide whether to laugh or not, say, “I find it easier to bock like a chicken than to say what I want to say.” I promise you, this will lead the conversation into amazing places and you’ll realize that even at your silliest people think you’re awesome just for speaking up.