Life comes one to a customer. We’re all in the middle of a one-time event. We get one shot to do it right. When it’s over, it’s over. No rehearsals, no retakes. Why, then, do we so casually give our lives away? How do we do that? We give our life away by living it according to somebody else’s plan. Perhaps a parent. Friend. Teacher. It could be just about anybody. Rather than maximizing our unique set of talents, personality and intelligence, we allow the opinions of others to tell us who and what we are. Usually to our detriment since somebody else’s view of life fits them, not us. The user’s manual, the Bible, explains the deal. We’re each custom-created by God with the talents, personality and intelligence to do what God put us on earth to do. Our job is to determine what gifts God gave us and then use them to achieve our purpose. So, let’s think about this. If we’re each custom-made, then we’re each unique. Some are uniquer than others, you may have noticed, but nobody’s supposed to be a clone. Or even a copy. God’s about the custom-made, not clones or second-best copies. If God intends for us to be unique, then trying to make us look, think or act like somebody else is wrong. Sure, we may look a lot like Mom, have characteristics inherited from Dad and even share some opinions with others, but put all those pieces together, and they spell “unique.” Those who try to try to direct us down the wrong path may have innocent intentions. They may even think their efforts are admirable. Perhaps it’s their misguided effort to help. Or it may simply be an unthinking attempt to relive their lives through us. Or their intentions can be callous. They spot advantage in manipulating us to fit their purposes. Selfish people don’t give a hoot about any collateral damage we suffer. We all know how it goes. Parents insist their children, however unsuited or unwilling, follow in their footsteps. “Friends” prefer we serve their desires and plans rather than move toward our own “If you were really a friend, you would . . . ” or “if you really loved me, you would . . . ” This is not unfamiliar territory. Here’s what we can take to the bank: If the plans of others contradict what God put in us, they are the wrong size and wrong style. They may be right for somebody else, but they don’t fit us. It’s the old square-peg-in-a-round-hole conundrum. If we go along, we’ll end up regretting that we didn’t live life differently. So, what to do? The simple-to-say, hard-to-do answer is to quit marching to the beat of somebody else’s drummer. Isn’t it a little late to change? Well, it’s either now, later or never. Later will be harder. Never is unthinkable. As the saying goes, seize the day. Whatever our age, we can change. Yes, younger is easier, but as long as we’re breathing, there’s hope. Most days we’ll only change a little, but if we persevere, the changes will become apparent–and finally, astonishing. And we won’t have to reach 80 still worried about “fitting in.” © by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved.