As I continue to add to the people I am meeting and hearing their stories, one main theme continues to come through: There is no rule book! I know that this is completely obvious, and we all think to ourselves “We know, oh do we know!”, but it needs to be vocalized. When it comes to life, there is no rule book!
When we are in our childhood, and up through our early adulthood, we are in this constant battle to do the right thing, do what others want us to, and keep striving for things that make us responsible, well liked and contributing adults. While getting into the thick of that, we lose our way sometimes on what it is exactly that we want and find ourselves following this imaginary rule book that is getting us no where extremely quickly. Where it is getting us is to a place where we are pleasing everybody, fitting into a mold and constantly find ourselves making decisions within this imaginary box constructed by these imaginary rules.
I do have a point to this and that is somewhere in adulthood, at least to many of us, we realize that there are no rules. Most adults do know this, and I believe strongly that you aren’t truly an adult until you realize this. It takes adulthood, and the unique random assortment of events to really be exposed to the thought of no rules. My friend’s Christina and Joel I feel didn’t see this until they had their child, Catcher. Of course, there were unique things to them with getting married quickly and the entertaining journey each one of them took the during the previous five years, but not until they were thrown into this whirlwind of grad school and poopy diapers did they really acknowledge this.
I believe there is no age to this thought process, or qualifying factors, it just takes a tiny switch to see this. Often, adults who know this don’t even really acknowledge by saying it, they just know. My brother and his fiancé would never say out loud that there are no rules, but when they’re struggling to support one child, another on the way, and they’re making the budget for the next two weeks, there is no set of rules that they are referencing, they are just making it work.
The realization to no rules is actually freeing. To acknowledge it and know I want to spend all my day reading a book, I can. Any responsibilities that I have taken on for the day will have to be missed, but I can. Out of common courtesy and personal rules I have set up for how I live my life, I will call, reschedule, get it covered, or whatever I need to do to make sure those other responsibilities are covered. Then, I will read my book and enjoy it. It’s funny that I use this example for myself. I still have large issues if I’m in my house lounging around all day. I have to tell myself the entire day, talking myself off of a ledge, which it is perfectly fine to be inside for the day. Ask any of my friends and they would laugh incredibly hard at me staying in all day. A pajama wearing home-body I am not.
Maybe you would love to quit your job, there is no rule forcing you to stay in it. There is however job security, bills you may have to pay and of course any other financial responsibility that you have acquired, but you can figure out a way and make it work. The word should usually accompanies all of this and the word should is dangerous. Just ask my friend Damon who wrote a book called Absolutely Should-less. His book offers a lot to say about this dirty word.
We all have the capacity for greatness. Greatness on any level we choose because all of our priority lists are different. If there were a rule book, all of our priority lists would be the same and we would just be plain and ordinary. With no rules on how to live life, we get the freedom to make rules that are best for us.
In one of my ultimate favorite movies, Laurel Canyon, Alex, played by Kate Beckinsale says, “Well we didn’t plan on a change of plans”. Francis McDormand’s character responds with a quick wit response but in those three seconds of dialogue, we learn that Alex is living through this list of imaginary rules. Of course by the end of the movie, she is turned upside down and needs to make rules for her own life, but this is a perfect example of the journey we all take to get there. The situations that come up in which we know nothing about only emphasize that we don’t know anything at all: That the rules we have been living by are complete bull shit and we have to make them up for ourselves.