Dear Monty

1st blahg for #bloganuary (a WordPress event)


The prompt: What advice would you give to your teenage self?


Dear Monty,

You don’t know me, but I know you. And knowing you, there is very little that I can teach you. Not because you have nothing to learn (quite the opposite), but because you think you already know everything. And your a stubborn asshole. Go ahead. Ask your mom. She’ll confirm.

Despite the odds against me, I’m still going to try to impart some hard learned wisdom. Not because I like you (If you don’t like yourself, why should I?), but because I‘m selfish and if I can somehow impart this message to you it might help me out.

Here’s the deal. Life doesn’t happen to you. Life isn’t unfair. Or fair for that matter. Sure things happen around us. The sun rises and falls. The seasons change. The dog eats our homework. The girl we are crushing on kisses another. You know, all sorts of stuff happens around us. But that is not your life. It’s just stuff happening.

Your life is made up entirely by the choices you make. The behaviors you choose to do. The feelings you choose to feel.  You always have a choice. Choices come with consequences and they can be wonderful or harsh, but don’t confuse unwanted consequences with lack of agency in the matter. 

You don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to go to school. You don’t have to be polite to your Mom. You can get drunk or high or steal. Whatever you want. It’s your choice. And when you get bad grades, or your Mom cries, or your hungover or strung-out, remember it was your choice. Don’t blame “life” or others for your choices. Own them. If you feel life is unfair know that you are choosing that feeling. You are not a victim.

Recognizing our own power of choice is the biggest gift that we have as humans. While we can’t control the external environment we can certainly influence it through our behaviors and we can ALWAYS choose how we respond both physically and emotionally.  Your sadness is a choice. Your self-loathing is a choice. Your loneliness is a choice. 

I know it doesn’t feel that way. This is because you are reacting instead of responding. You are forfeiting your choice. You are wasting the gift of being human. Here is my advice: PAUSE. Take a pause before you act. Consider your choices. Consider how you want to feel. Take advantage of this uniquely human power of choice. Once you’ve made your choice then move forward with no regrets. Own your choices. Whether you choose to be at peace or sad or angry, it’s all good. Then thank yourself (or blame yourself if you choose), because it’s always up to you.

This doesn’t mean that bad shit won’t happen around you. You will be hurt both physically and emotionally. What others do to hurt you is NOT your fault. You cannot choose what others do. Just like you, they have their own choices to make. But you can always choose how you respond to those that harm you. There are no wrong choices. Sometimes anger or fear or hate will be a good choice for you. But just consider the consequences. If blowing off some steam will help you get to a better place then passive forgiveness, then why not? Just accept the consequences and move onto the next choice. It’s up to you.

Be well,

Monty


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