I saw a Maxine comic the other day, and it reminded me just how liberating it is to be getting older. I’ve always spoken my mind (even when I shouldn’t have), but as I’ve grown older, I’ve found it’s become that much easier to let go of the fears that always held me back. It’s much easier now to be the person I really want to be, whether other people approve or not.
I’m not afraid of being “the right kind of person” or of not doing “the right thing”. I’ve come to realize that no matter who I am, I’m the right person. And, as long as I’m not hurting anyone else (physically, emotionally, or mentally) and what I’m doing makes me happy, then that’s the right thing.
I’m not saying that I’m going out of my way to be offensive or hurtful—I do care about other people’s feelings—but I’m no longer willing to be or pretend to be what I’m not (not that I ever really did). However, now, more than ever, I have come to recognize that allowing myself to be who I truly am is what makes me happy. And if I’m not happy, then why bother? Life is too short to spend it being miserable, so I choose Happy.
Yet, it still amazes me how many people aren’t happy because they are living a false life. Most people go through their whole lives being what they think other people want them to be. However, there is nothing so tiring as maintaining a false face, and tired people are not happy people. Just think about it…just imagine how tiring it must be to go through your life pretending that you enjoy being a stay-at-home mom, trucking 3 kids to and from their various activities, when what you really crave is to be is a dress designer. Or maybe you’ve got a fancy office on Madison Avenue working in advertisement and what you really crave is to be a stay-at-home mom. But instead, you each continue to plug away at your lives, telling yourselves you’re happy and if not having fun, at least making a life for yourselves.
But what’s wrong with telling yourself the truth, out loud instead of in those little whispers that we all mumble to ourselves as we get ready to face another day. Tell yourself to be happy. Tell yourself to stop pretending. If you don’t want to be the person you are, then let yourself change. Drop the façade. Drop the pretense.
Maybe you can’t just stop being a mom, but it doesn’t mean you have to be something you’re not. You can still design and make dresses, you might even build a career out of it (if that’s what you want). But it only works if you’re honest with yourself. You have to recognize the lies that you’ve been telling yourself. You have to recognize whether you’re trying to make yourself into something you’re not and why. Is it to please your family, your lover/spouse, your boss, your church, your friends, or someone else? What about pleasing yourself?
Be like Maxine, and know that your opinion counts. Who you are matters. And it’s much easier to be happy when you’re not so worn down pretending to be someone you’re not.