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Do What You Want

Last tended on April 14, 2023

At your funeral, friends and family will argue over who gets what. People will want food to eat (and let's be honest, some will be there just for the food). The topic will shift from your life to their lives, as Aunt Marge tells yet another story about her neighbor's dog. They'll drive away thinking about their looming to-do list, and some people won't be able to make it because "something came up" (probably just catching up on the latest episodes of Insert a drama show title on Netflix).

With this thought in mind, it's crucial to remember that life is too short to be lived according to someone else's expectations, or the whims of your boss, or even to impress your dog (although they do give the best judgmental stares). In a world where everyone seems to have an opinion about how we should live our lives, including that one irritating friend who always has "advice," it's easy to lose sight of our own desires and dreams. The pressure to conform can be overwhelming, but ultimately, it's essential to do what you want and live life on your own terms – even if it means binge-watching your favorite show in your pajamas all weekend.

Now, why should we focus on our own desires and goals? Here are a few reasons:

1. Authenticity: When we live according to our own values and desires, we embrace our true selves – even if that means admitting you secretly love pineapple on pizza. This authenticity is crucial for personal happiness and fulfillment. After all, it's difficult to feel content when we're constantly trying to fit into a mold created by someone else, like squeezing into that pair of skinny jeans that you haven't worn since college.

2. Personal growth: Living life on our terms allows us to explore our passions, learn new skills, and discover more about ourselves. For example, who knew you were a natural at interpretive dance? This personal growth can lead to increased self-awareness and self-esteem, ultimately enriching our lives and providing excellent conversation starters at parties.

3. Lasting happiness: Happiness derived from external validation or approval is fleeting – much like the satisfaction of finally beating that impossible level on Candy Crush. In contrast, when we do what we want and follow our own path, we're more likely to find lasting happiness and satisfaction, even if that path involves a few missteps (like that time I tried to learn how to juggle flaming torches 🤦🏼).

4. Regret minimization: When we look back on our lives, we don't want to be filled with regret over the things we didn't do or the dreams we didn't chase. Living life on our terms helps ensure that we make the most of our time here and create a life we can look back on with pride, amusement, and maybe a few "Well, that was a learning experience!" moments.

So, how can we begin to live life on our terms without turning into total couch potatoes? Here are a few steps to get started, sprinkled with some light-heartedness:

1. Self-reflection: Take time to reflect on your own values, desires, and goals. What is truly important to you? What do you want to achieve in life? This self-reflection is the first step in taking control of your life, and it's a great excuse to indulge in some quality time with your favorite beverage.

2. Prioritize: Once you have a clear understanding of your values and goals, prioritize them. Make a list of what is most important to you and ensure that your daily actions align with these priorities. And remember, it's okay if your list includes binge-watching the latest season of that guilty pleasure show – balance is key!

3. Set boundaries: Learn to say no to others' expectations and demands that don't align with your values and goals. Setting boundaries is crucial for maintaining your sense of self and ensuring that you have the time and energy to focus on what truly matters to you.

4. Be flexible: Understand that life is a constant process of change and growth – and sometimes that growth involves realizing you're not cut out for skydiving. Be open to adjusting your goals and priorities as you learn more about yourself and what you truly want from life, even if it means swapping out some of your earlier aspirations for new and exciting adventures.

5. Surround yourself with support: Find like-minded individuals who share your values and aspirations – and who can appreciate your vast collection of novelty socks. These individuals can provide encouragement, support, and motivation as you navigate your journey of living life on your terms, and they'll be there to laugh with you through the inevitable ups and downs.

In conclusion, life is too short to be lived according to someone else's expectations. Embrace your authentic self, pursue your own goals and desires, and create a life that is truly your own – quirks, eccentricities, and all. Remember, at the end of the day, it's your life to live, so do what you want and make it count, whether that means traveling the world or mastering the art of the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

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