Since childhood, we are programmed to listen to the elders in the family. This is a good thing because the voice of experience is wiser than the curiosity of young minds. I benefited a lot from following their advice and will forever be indebted to all the grown- ups in my life for guiding me onto the right path. However, looking back at all the years, all those friends and acquaintances and all the experiences, I realized that many of us simply existed and at least fifty percent of our life was lived by someone else.

“When you grow up you can do whatever you want.”, is a standard dialogue that resonated in every house. And “Good children don’t argue they do whatever they are told to do!”, is another tag line that was attached to every sermon. We religiously followed every instruction to the dot. For some people, this eventually becomes a habit. Even after they are fully grown adults, they can’t think on their own. Every decision needs to be discussed. If by any chance, they have to think on their own, fear grips them and self-doubt and nervousness makes the decision making process pure hell. I’ll say good for them, if that is the way they prefer to live.  

If you notice, you will find people who give free advices and lecture others to do everything their way and people who follow these advices. What happens to those who want to do what they think is best for themselves? These people like to think on their own, not afraid to make mistakes and don’t feel ashamed to learn from experience. Don’t get me wrong, they do take advices from time to time whenever they feel the need to so but they don’t depend entirely on others to make every decision for them.

When one enforces their opinions on to others, or forces their decision on others, they are living the other person’s life. They snatched the other person’s right to choose what to do. Now this other person has to live with the consequences of those decision. if the results are good, then they get addicted to the support and if the results are bad they will forever blame the adviser and never take responsibility for those consequences. Isn’t it?

 I admire those free independent spirited persons who like to live their life their way. A friend of mine, let’s call her A, advised another friend, B, to begin her day listening to devotional music and it will dispel all her troubles. B replied that she does not believe in spirituality. Since that day A made it her life’s sole task to get B involved in spirituality even though B constantly scraps out A’s attempts. I wondered why she won’t give up. It’s her life, her wish.

In another incident, an elderly lady walked up to a younger lady and asked “Where is your son? Why didn’t you bring him to the party?”. To this the younger lady replied that he has school work to do and has decided to stay back at home. The older lady gave the young lady a long lecture on parenting and importance of socializing and that she should have forced him to come to the party. I couldn’t help but laugh.

If you are one of those people whose life has been controlled by dominating persons around you, and if you really want to take matters into your hands then you have my full encouragement. It’s never too late to go ahead and live it up. Don’t let them tell you that you are too old to watch cartoons. Oh! No one told that to you? Well, I was. I told them they are right and continued watching. Here is a list of things I heard the control freaks say to others:

  • Your children are into their teens now, stop wearing jeans and shirts. You have to wear sarees so that you look like their mother. Next time you come to the party make sure you are wearing a saree or else…
  • Girls cannot do a certain profession e.g. mechanical engineering, computer hardware engineering, orthopedics etc. These professions are better suited for men. Girls can’t manage it.
  • Tell me when you going out shopping, I will come along with you. You will not be able to choose the right products. You will waste all your money.
  • What is your child doing? Why don’t you send him for football training or swimming classes? (even though the child is not interested or is attending some other classes)
  • If the child is doing some school work, they say “Why is he/she sitting with books all the time? Ask them to come out and socialize or go out and play.” And if they are playing, they say” Ask him/her to stop playing and focus on studies after exams he can play.”

The list goes on endlessly. The more we allow others to make choices for us the more we lose control over our life and we become puppets in their hands. There is a danger that all decisions made are not to your advantage. This is like you sit down to play a game of chess and your opponent is playing his game and your game too. Obviously he would make your moves to his advantage. Right?

God has given us this one life and it has to be lived by us, not others. Each one has their own life to live. One can’t go about …I will live my life and I will live your life too. We learn from our mistakes, when we fall we learn to get up and the next time a similar situation arises we make a smarter move. Some times what goes for the goose does not necessarily go well for the gander. In effect your life is your journey, enjoy every moment of it and live it to the last second.