Thursday, September 29, 2011

Words Of Advice

I'm old enough now to be able to give good, serious advice to younger people. Whatever it is, I've been there, done that. In general, I know what works and what doesn't. I know what regrets are all about and what you need to do to have fewer of them.

When you're young, it's not always obvious to you what all possibilities you have. Mom and Dad are there trying to make things safe for you. They have good reasons for you to play it safe, because all kinds of terrible things can happen. Maybe they want you to fit in the family mold and carry on for them.

Plus, you simply don't know all your possibilities because no one's told you. Well, I can't tell you either, because the possibilities are so vast, everyone's got to see them and imagine them for themselves. It's enough to say, If you think your possibilities are really limited, chances are you're wrong. Because you can launch out and do all kinds of things.

I have this in mind because we've gone out for breakfast and had the same waitress a couple weeks in a row. She's come by the table and talked about more than our order, like what she might do. She's living at home, at her parents' place. Grandma and Grandpa live in the same town and they want her to move in the trailer with them. But she might like to move away and do something else...

It seems like I told her last week she ought to "Go for it." I can't remember if I did or not, but that would be my usual advice if I happened to be in the advice-giving mood.

Really, though, it's OK to stay in your town, just stay wherever you are, if you're happy with that. Like it says in the Tao Te Ching (and is quoted in a Beatles' song), "Without going out of your door, you can know the ways of heaven." It's somewhere near the end of the book, that the people in this one place never need to go anywhere. They never even visit the town nearby. I believe I know what that means. Everything is the exact same in terms of the Tao.

But practically speaking -- and I don't like the sound of that phrase entirely, because practicality isn't always the way to live -- you don't know that your life's happiness is going to be found in your own backyard. You might need to get out and go to school. You might be better off traveling, seeing new things, etc.

The advice that really came to me, which I didn't say, is the most famous thing Joseph Campbell ever said, which is, "Follow your bliss." Look it up, it's an interesting concept. It's different from crawling in a hole, covering yourself, and hoping to die, a lot different.

Then I thought, I don't want to have to tell her, "Follow your bliss." Because how am I going to explain that without my eggs getting cold? And you really don't want to seem too profound, because how are you going to be a regular customer next week?

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