Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In Search of...my own two cents

Did you ever notice how when you decide to embark on something new, everyone's got an opinion about it? Seriously. Let's use dieting as an arbitrary example. Here's how it goes for me:

I say: "I just started doing South Beach again."

And Person B says: "Well, that's good, but what you should really do is Weight Watchers."

And I start thinking, "Did I ask you what you think I should do?" Because if I did then by all means, fire away. But I'm wondering when we became a society of experts on everyone else's lives and why we feel compelled to put in our unsolicited two cents. And I know that I am as guilty of this as the next person, though not with regards to doling out dieting tips. People in glass houses, you know.

I began noticing it when I started writing my memoir, In Search of George Stephanopoulos. People told me it wasn't a book, it was a magazine article...which, again, would have been fine if I had asked them if they thought it was a book or a magazine article. But that got me doubting, and I truly never need any assistance with self doubt. So I decided to ask someone who makes her living as a writer - a magazine writer to be exact, and lo and behold she told me it would be a book. And so I decided to listen to her since I'd actually asked, and I've never looked back since.

We live in a busy world, inundated with more images and information than we can possibly wrap our brains around. And most of the images and information directly contradict one another. So who should we listen to? Whose two cents count? Or is it more important to be like Einstein and come up with the end result before you figure out how to get there? (The theory of relativity comes to mind.)

At what point does the advice of even the most well-meaning person become something that is destructive? And when is it more constructive to keep our mouths shut and be supportive? How do we differentiate the pertinent from impertinent suggestions we receive when we are drowning in a sea of them? How do we make our own decisions or even know what our own decisions are at the end of the day?

I am full of questions, but in truth we all already know the answer. The answer is that thing that comes when we power off our cell phones, stop checking email, and turn off the TV. The answer is the thing that brings us peace and joy, regardless of the tide of public opinion. The thing to do is the thing that only we can do. It is the thing that, looking back from our rocking chair at ninety will bring a smile to our lips. The two cents that count are our own two cents, but it takes courage in an opinionated world to listen to that.

So let's all take a minute each day and get re-acquainted with our own inner expert. Let's count our own pennies and drive in our own lanes. And for goodness sake, let's applaud the efforts of those we care about. After all, aren't we all doing the best we can with what we have from where we are?

Thanks for stopping by. By doing so, you have supported my dream.

No comments:

Post a Comment