Sunday, June 2, 2013

GaryTalk #4

Be your own person. 

Most of us go through a phase in our lives when we want to fit in with the crowd and avoid standing out at any cost. For me, this period was mostly in 8th and 9th grades, when I cared greatly about having the "right" clothes. The ones the other girls were wearing, with parents willing to spend more money on clothes than my parents were. This meant babysitting for extra money, and spending way too much for Abercrombie jeans. Looking back, it's all very amusing, and a little sad. I fell into the trap. 

There is a side of human nature that quietly pushes all of us to want to go unnoticed, to blend in with the crowd, to like the same things other people like, and to do the same things other people are doing. 

My father, being the parent that he is, tried his best to encourage Frieden and me to be our own person.  His technique in this instance was "leading by example". While the other dads were wearing the cool nonchalant dad clothes to sporting events, my dad was wearing a bright pair of Converse Chuck Taylor tennis shoes, Levi's jeans, (always Levi's to this day), and some bright freebee baseball hat. He really didn't give a damn. Really. That's how he liked to dress, and what else mattered? In fact, he continues to truly not care what other people think about what he does, what he wears, or the things he likes. He likes what HE likes, period.  

At the end of the day, that is the the way it should be for all of us, when we have the courage to decide to be our own person and live away from the crowd. To make decisions based on our personal likes, rather than what most people like. Let us not fall into the trap of trying to be like everyone else. Be yourself. 

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