If there’s a walking personification of “always keep it 100,” it’s my mother. Not one to mince words, my mom has always been there to provide me with quick, simple, and oftentimes blunt advice.
As a kid, I didn’t just want, but I needed to keep up with my friends. If one of my friends got Pogs, I was on the hunt for Black Widow slammers. If a friend of mine busted out a Nintendo Game Boy, you best believe I’d be hitting up my mom for the right to experience “Super Mario Land” for myself. Quite simply: What they had, I wanted.
Sometimes I would get lucky and get to keep up with my friends- there were even times I got the chance to be at the forefront of a trend- I was the undisputed king of Swatch Watches as a 10-year old. But as much as I wanted to be her, I wasn’t Veruca Salt from “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.” Just because I wanted it didn’t always mean that I would have it, and it was at those times- when I was stuck wearing two-year old L.A. Gear when everyone else was rocking a fly pair of Reebok Pumps- that I would hear these simple words:
“Don’t worry about what everybody else is doing.”
As a kid, these words haunted me, because all they meant was that this little Veruca Salt wannabe wasn’t getting his golden goose. But as an adult, I think I’ve finally grasped just what my mom was trying to drive home all those years.
One of my greatest “talents” is comparing my career path with another’s, coming to the conclusion that I’m “behind the 8-ball” when compared to whoever. One of the things my mom was trying to tell me was that as long as I spend my time making these comparisons, I’ll always find a way to be a loser; The brass ring will always be just out of reach, the jump shot will always fall short.
The other thing my mom was attempting to get me to understand is that the more time I spend worrying about everyone else, the less time & energy I’m spending on myself; My career, my family, the things that truly matter.
If only my mom spent my childhood telling me, “Don’t worry about what everybody else is doing, but rather what you’re doing and enjoy the ride,” I probably would have come to understand her advice a lot earlier.
That’s what I get for having a mom who excels at giving quick, simple, and oftentimes blunt advice.