Thursday, March 21, 2013

What popular culture doesn't tell you (A musing on life, love, success and humanity)

Every now and then I find myself reminiscing about all the beliefs I used to hold about life and society and challenging some of the ones I still have.

I took a personal survey one time that asked me what I would say if I could get one message out to a large group of people. Aside from "be nice to each other," I would pretty much say something like this:

On life: You are going to die. I know that sounds morbid and horrible, but it is the absolute truth of human existence. We are all going to die. You know what that means? It means that the zit on your face, your annoying co-worker, your bad hair day, your slow Internet connection, the opinion of someone who's name you won't even remember in six months, the hole in your favorite pair of jeans, and the fact that your favorite celebrity is (OMG) in the news for yet another scandal does not mean shit. None of it matters. Be happy, love people, and do whatever you want to do with your own life. No one else can live it for you or make your decisions.

And those feelings you're feeling and those super hard/seemingly uphill battles you're fighting? They're normal. Growing up and facing new challenges is going to suck, and you may not even know where to begin when it comes to that nightmarish road to adulthood. Give it permission to suck. Give yourself permission to be hopelessly confused. You do not need to have your entire life mapped out or even the next month of your life mapped out the second you step out of high school or college. In fact, if you choose to sit around doing "nothing of particular importance" every day for a year afterwards, it's okay. I'd rather do nothing of particular importance than throw myself at the first career opportunity that comes my way because people say I'm supposed to.

Take your time. Live your life. Feel your feelings. And stop following "the rules," because guess what? They don't exist. They're an illusion.      

On love: Love is the only thing that truly matters. Not just romantic love, but the kind of love you feel when your grandmother hugs you, when your puppy wants to play, when you hold your child for the first time, when you share a laugh with someone, when you're engaging in an activity that fills you up with passion and excitement, or when a total stranger performs a random act of kindness on you. Love, in all its different forms, is beautiful.

Also, love whoever you want. Your heart is no one's business but yours. If someone else can't feel what you feel in your heart, they have no right to tell you who to love.

Also, it's okay to be single. It's more than okay to be single. The purpose of life isn't marriage or finding "the one." It upsets me when people think they're supposed to be in a relationship. Your relationship status and/or sex life is nobody's f****** business. And I would totally support the desire to actually SAY that to the next person who gives you flack about "still being single." Yes, you can swear if you want. And if you DO want to find love, but haven't yet---be patient and stay open. It might just come when you least expect it.    

On success: Money does not equal success. Status does not equal success. You wanna know what DOES equal success? Happiness. If you love what you are doing and wake up every morning feeling excited about new ideas and possibilities, then you are successful. It doesn't matter how much money you make or how many accomplishments you have under your belt. Doing something that puts a smile on your face is MY definition of success.    

On humanity: You are not perfect. The concept of trying to have it all together is extremely overrated. If you want to go to the grocery store in your Mickey Mouse pajamas, go for it. If you accidentally burp at the dinner table, the universe will not disown you. If you lose your temper, it doesn't mean you're a terrible person. If you have days where you hate yourself, doubt yourself, and conclude that you deserve zero of the good things in your life, it means you're a human being who feels and struggles just like everyone else.

You're not always going to have it all together. You're going to have days where you make mistakes and do things you're not proud of. You're going to hurt, regret, doubt, fear and lose. But the world will always keep spinning.

Do your best. Say you're sorry. Choose goodness. Mess up over and over and over again. Keep going. Take care of yourself. Take care of others. Cry. Complain. Take risks. Be who you are. Do what you want. And embrace your imperfect humanity.

<3 Madison      


  1. I loved this! It's all true. I couldn't find my own happiness until I stopped following "the rules".

  2. I didn't begin to find happiness or learn about life until I dropped out of college.

    ^ it's true.

    1. Haha love it. I hear stuff like that all the time.

      And I didn't really find happiness or learn about life until I stopped obsessing over how things were "supposed to" be in life.