I Never Meant To Be A Good Example
I've always thought it was kind of strange that people get so up-in-arms when celebrities do things that make them "a bad example."
"Don't they know kids look up to them?"
I'm sure they do. But I'm also sure they never asked for that. Actors become actors because they love to act. Not because they want to be responsible for the formation of the world's youth. Nor should they. That would be weird. They have lives of their own to live, and pressures many of us don't understand, and for us to expect them to be living examples of perfection is our failing not theirs.
In the same way, I became a missionary because I wanted to talk about Jesus with people. Not because I believed my life could or should be a roadmap for my students, or for anyone, to follow, really.
Sharing with others that I waited years for my fiancé to figure out we should date shouldn't make me feel anxious because I'm worried someone else will use it to justify waiting around for a relationship that will never be. I shouldn't have to feel responsible for the thoughts of others when I watch shows, read books, or decide how I am going to spend my time. I shouldn't have to worry about how each word I speak or write will be perceived by someone else because "I need to be a good example."
My decisions aren't yours, and nor should they be. None of us are the rule. We are all exceptions. Just because I am marrying someone I waited years for, doesn't mean you should do the same. Just because I left my job to be a full-time writer doesn't mean you should, too. I have just lived the best life I could. The way our decisions are perceived by others can't hang like a cloud over every move we make.
That's not freedom, and I want to live a life of freedom.
I have given myself the permission to fail. I've given myself the permission to fail over and over and over again until I find my way, because I know that is the only chance I have to grow into the person I want to become. And you may not like the way I fail. It may make you feel uncomfortable or like I've let someone somewhere down in some way. But I can't live my life dressing to impress for the judgmental masses I never see or speak to, and neither can you.
Sure we all have people that we look up to, but they never meant for it to be that way. Just like you, they were just trying to be the best they could be. And they may have succeeded in some ways. But in others, they will fail. And that's okay.
You might be a person who feels the weight of the gaze of others on your shoulders. Throw it off. Give yourself the space to fail. That's okay, too.