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Admit it…

21/03/2013

Admit it. You’re not like them. You’re not even close.

I’m not. Despite outward appearances of conformity – wife, son, dog, car – I’m most certainly not like them. I’m a mess of ideas, psychosis, neurotic thoughts, and fears, all candy coated with a care free, devil-may-care attitude and deep love of his family and friends.

You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes.

The worst experience of my professional life was spent wearing dress clothes in an office, just to fit in. I was scolded, ridiculed, and fired because I had tattoos, ideas, and thoughts on how best I worked. Our department director once had me called into my manager’s office because I once stood up and the back of my shirt had come untucked from my pants.

But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the ‘normal people’ as they go about their automatic existences.

I turned 34 this week. And leading up to my birthday, I secretly hoped that I’d get a card from the people at work – everyone else got one, so it was a reasonable expectation.

I got no card. I sat, by myself, for 75% of my day, feeling as if I’d done something wrong.

For every time you say club passwords like:

‘Have a nice day’

Or ‘Hope dinner turns out great!’

and

‘Weather’s awful today, eh?’

Or ‘What’s your workout routine, now?’

You yearn inside to say forbidden things like:

‘Tell me something that makes you cry’

Or ‘When was the last time you truly felt inspired to create something?’

or

‘What do you think deja vu is for?’

Or ‘Have you ever just…shut down? Turned off your life for a day and let go of who you are, so you can feel like a new person that next morning, even though you’re in your own skin?’

Face it; you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator. But what if that girl in the elevator, and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work, are thinking the same thing?

Sure, or the mailman, or your apartments repairman. When was the last time you legitimately talked to your Barista at Starbucks or Bigby and asked them where they wanted to go that morning, if they didn’t have to be at work? What would they be doing if there were nothing – no job, no life, and no family tying them down? When did you last get to know someone you can so very easily take for granted?

Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger?

When I finally let my guard down and got to know people that I put a shell up against, I found so much more that enriched my life. I met a friend who likes to skydive and eat chocolate cookies. A colleague who rescues cats, because she believes that animals deserve as much a chance as a human does, and dedicates all of her free time to saving the lives of animals because, in her soul, it’s what she’s on this earth to do. And a dear friend who, despite the fact that I shut her out completely when we first met, is someone who challenges me to be better, and whom I count closer and more accepting of me than some members of my family.

Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle.

And every piece of that puzzle makes you a more complete you.

Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence.

But they can be shut out by carelessness and fickle differences.

Trust your instincts.

And even if your instincts are wrong, don’t give up on them.

Do the unexpected.

Leap before you look.

Find the others.

Because the others are who will help enrich your life. DFTBA.

Timothy Leary

-Jay Malone

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