Do you think you know everything? Good. Because I certainly do. No, seriously, I just heard this a few nights ago, and I’ve heard it before: the most dangerous two words out there are “I know.”
But we like to think we know it all, don’t we? I’m certainly guilty of this myself. We read a great book, and suddenly we’re experts on the topic. As parents we go to parent/teacher conferences to tell the teachers how to teach. We yell at our TV screens, telling football coaches how to coach. We get married and have children, which now makes us the experts on marriage and having children. We tell people what shoe colors to wear, what their weight should be, what they shouldn’t eat – until the latest study tells us it’s ok to eat it again, what kind of education they should get, which jobs are good jobs, whether or not people should have children, when and wear to get married, even what to believe.
Often the intentions are even good. Parents “don’t want you to make the same mistakes.” Friends want to “save you the trouble.” Right?
But what if you like making mistakes? What if you want to be the “Queen of Mistake- Making”? Can you imagine? Maybe that should be my new title. I’ll bet I would have no competition. And I did tell my mom once (or twice) in my angsty teenage years: “Let me make my own mistakes! You don’t need to protect me.” I think I was well on my way to my inauguration as “The Contented Mess-up Queen”.
But it’s hard. I know it is. We may make a “mistake,” and then we want to fix it — and sometimes we can’t. We have regrets that we don’t know how to resolve. So, we think we’ve found some redemption through the wonderful idea: “I know! I’ll ‘fix it’ for others!” But let me reiterate, folks, that can be a great disservice.
Especially, if we don’t really know. When I look back on my life, my only regrets are for those times when I didn’t follow my desires When I didn’t give it a try. Maybe I’d listened to somebody else. Or maybe I’d wanted to protect myself. And I missed out. It all worked out fine – I’m still happy and healthy. But I missed out. I missed out when I didn’t face my fear and try out for the high school softball team. I missed out not taking writing in college because I didn’t believe writing was a good job or didn’t believe that I could be any good at it. I missed out by playing it “safe.”
So, thank goodness for those times I did take a risk. I went all alone and studied in Mexico for a semester – which — after the first week of shock and crying my eyes out — was one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve traveled to Europe alone. I’ve tried out for musicals, I’ve taken improv class, I’ve quit multiple jobs and started new businesses, I’ve navigated the online dating and speed-dating worlds, I’ve studied metaphysics, I’ve biked 100 miles through the Rockies, I’ve performed solo concerts. I’ve risked, and I’ve lived.
So, I’m here to tell you. Maybe you do know. Or maybe you don’t. Maybe you know, but I’m just not ready to hear it yet. I appreciate you caring enough to give the advice. . . But please don’t force feed it down my throat like mushy carrots from an infant’s momma on a mission. Maybe you do know, but I just might want to know it for myself. ❤
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