Do What You Want
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Remember the girl from the train? Shortly before we arrived in Thessaloniki, she turned to Kosta with a question for me. She could understand English better than she could speak it, so she chose to ask this question through him. His translation came back as, "What is your advice?"
This was a pretty general question, given that there was no context for the question; she hadn't come to us with a problem, didn't seem to need specific advice. So I asked for clarification. The new translation was: "What is your advice for life?"
Oh man, what a damn can of worms that could be! That's one heck of a question! And on what authority do I answer the "big" questions like that? But she seemed really keen to know what I had to dispense, possibly because I live an unusual, interesting life. So I thought to what I might want to tell myself 20 years ago if I could.
And then I said, "Do exactly what you want in life." I went on to elaborate. Don't let others tell you how to life your life. It's yours, and—various spiritual beliefs notwithstanding—you get only one. Don't fall victim to the weight of others' expectations and live your life by them. This is not to say you don't have to be responsible, in fact, it's the opposite, because then you and only you are responsible for your decisions and your outcomes. You are the owner of your life, not your parents, not your friends, you.
But when you do exactly what you want, do what is in alignment with who you are as a person, then you can begin living a life of your dreams.