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Living Life: Who Writes the Rulebook?

     "Don't do that!"

     The child looks to the parent for an explanation, wanting to know why. The glare from the parent lets the child know that the reason is not as important as the rule.

     From the point of birth, we all live under a certain set of rules created by our society. The rules are not written; they are expectations from our parents, teachers, relatives, and friends. As we go through life, both good and bad things happen. We learn, we experience, and we grow. However, this unwritten rule-book is one thing I have come to despise.

     Picture lying on your death-bed. The thoughts going through your mind. Did I live my life to the fullest? Did I experience all that I wanted to? Was I happy?

     I think many times, the answers that may come back will surprise us. "No, you wasted time. You lived up to the expectations of everyone but yourself. You were judged and tried to adjust your life to accommodate those judgments. You were happy at times, yet even your happiness was judged and you decided later that your happiness was influenced by that which others said was wrong. You questioned yourself and began monitoring your actions, trying to decide whether you were living up to the expectations in this unwritten rulebook of life."

     We are judged by our religous beliefs, and our political preferences. We are judged by our status within society, the house we live in, the car we drive, and even the work we do. When we realize these judgments are being made, we feel forced to make changes to satisfy others' opinions of us. People even go to college and grab a degree because that's what is expected. Did they learn? Well, that's not really important as long as they have proof they were there.

     If I owned a business, and interviewed two people; one a farmer, and one a college graduate, by life's rulebook I'd be an idiot not to hire the educated person. And so I do.....I hire the farmer.

     Our rules start with our parents. They are the keeper of the rules taught to them by our grandparents. It carries on through generations and until we recognize the need to make changes, the same influences and behaviors will continue through decades, if not centuries.

     If you make a decision today that makes you happy, and 15 years from now that decision has led you down a path to being unhappy, society says "Tough luck Jack. You made your bed...so you sleep in it." For the sake of discussion, you decide to "break the rules." You make changes to become happy again. When you do, you are criticized by society and judged for your actions and eventually if you give in to those societal pressures, you find your-self unhappy again. So much for the rules.

     These rules I speak of are non-existent. They are not really there. We just believe they are and the people we know and come in contact with from birth to death lead us to believe we need to follow a specific path to be happy. Making adjustments is not allowed, or so we are led to believe, and the pressure of this belief may cause us to live life as others expect us to.

     There should be no black sheep. There should be no pressure to be something we are not. And there should be no pressure to change paths, change decisions, and change the rules.

     There are those that will read this and because it is so fitting to what they are going through, they will swear it pertains to them. It is written for everyone, but nobody in particular. It is written as a message to all. You live one life. Don't go out of this life regretting that your life was lived based on the expectations and judgments of others. If you do, you will have lived, their life.... not yours.