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As my friends and I age out of our “kids living life one day at a time” phase and into our “adults planning our future” phase, I’ve noticed an upsetting trend. The older we get, the more rules we seem to set for ourselves. The three date rule. Rules about what you’re too old to wear. Rules on how to make your money, invest your money, and spend your money. Rules on what you can enjoy. Rules on what rules to have. And I’m over it.
The truth is, the world doesn’t work according to our rules, so we should we govern ourselves with them? Good relationships can stem from people who slept together on date one or date ten. You can find a job you like with a college degree, a trade school degree, or no degree. You can enjoy yourself at the opera or at a monster truck rally. Hell, you can enjoy yourself at both (and if you do, please invest in my monster truck opera on Kickstarter). Do what you want, and fuck the rules.
Here’s the only rule you should follow.
If it brings you enjoyment, fulfillment, or helps you achieve your goals, and it doesn’t hurt anyone else, do it. Just do it.
There are eight billion people in the world, and 99.99999% of them don’t give a shit about you. Not in a mean way, they just don’t know and don’t care who you are. So why should you care about what they think?
Many people live by perceived rules. Not rules they set on themselves, but rather, rules that they believe society sets on them. Rules that tell them to go to college. To find a partner. Get married by 30. Buy a house. Have a few kids. Work your way up the corporate ladder. Retire to Florida. Rules, rules, rules. If that sounds like your ideal life, I’m not knocking it in the slightest. But if it’s not, then fuck those rules. Live by your own.
If enjoying your life to the max while you’re young is worth more to you than being able to retire, spend all your money traveling in your thirties. If you want to live a Spartan lifestyle for a few decades and then retire comfortably at 40, do it. Do you want to get married? Do it. Stay single forever? Do it. Never have kids? Go for it. Have kids when you’re young (assuming you can provide for them and understand the consequences it will have on your life)? Go for it.
It’s not just the big rules, either. Every day, people tell themselves that they can’t do, wear, say, or enjoy certain things because “that’s not what people do.” Screw what people do. Watch trash TV if you like it. Ask your boss for a raise if you deserve it. As much as this pains me to admit, follow Duda’s view on fashion. You may or may not agree his style, but the dude wears what he wants. And when it comes to your love life, as long as it’s consensual, I’m a firm believer in doing whatever you enjoy.
This isn’t to say that you can do whatever you want without consequences. Everything you do shapes people’s perceptions of you and alters your options in life. My thoughts? Fuck people’s perceptions. As long as you understand and accept consequences of your actions, random people’s thoughts of you shouldn’t matter. The people I care about know who I am. They accept who I am. And the people who don’t, I don’t care about.
I know this may seem like a hypocritical stance for me to take, given that most of my articles are advice columns telling you what to do, but that’s all they are. Advice. Take it, or don’t (although you should since it’s great advice). The point is, don’t let other people live your life. Don’t believe that society decides what you’re allowed to do. Set your own rules. Or don’t. It’s your life. .