Who’s Driving in Your Life?

We are all driven by something. There is something that motivates you and from where you make your decisions about who you are in life and in love. The key is to figure out what it is. But, the question is if you know that it’s your choice. You can choose what drives you. If you don’t choose, then you are being driven by people and things in your past.Who is behind the wheel in your life?

No one can drive us crazy unless we give them the keys.”- Doug Horton

When you are a child, you don’t make many of the choices in your life. You make your choices out of what is made available to you. You also take on the restrictions and fears that you learned in childhood. As you get older, through friends, girlfriends or boyfriends, you may step out of the rules of your household and explore things you would never have an opportunity to. I consider myself fortunate. I grew up in an area of Philadelphia where I was exposed to many different cultures. Every time I went to a friend’s house, I was able to see and enjoy another way of doing and being. It opened up my thinking in ways that I now benefit from. I could go to one friends house and be invited to a dinner of plantains and arroz con pollo while being immersed in spanish culture and music. The next day, I might be invited to spend time with my friends from Laos and enjoy their food and culture. Each friend was willing and eager to teach me about who they were. In turn, they also loved to find out more about me. I learned that there are different things to enjoy in the world.

As you grow older, you start to develop new interests as you are exposed to more of life. But, it depends on if you are exposed to more. Some people never venture further than where they grew up and what their parent’s did. Again, I am fortunate because my parents not only encouraged us to explore, but also provided us with new places and things to do. My mother is adventurous and often insists on exploring different things while dragging the rest of us along with her. While living in your parents’ house, you don’t always know what you really like and don’t like. Sometimes, you just know what you’ve had. When I moved out of my parent’s home, I started exploring different things and figuring out what I liked and didn’t like. I found out that many of the things that I did in my childhood home fell away. I created new traditions, thoughts, decisions and I infused all different types of cooking into my dining menu. I also gave myself permission to explore even more cultures, traditions and thoughts.

Even with all my grown-up behavior, there was still somethings that stuck. When I was a child, we could drink anything in the refrigerator that we wanted except our parents’ Pepsi. The Pepsi was hands-off and we would get in trouble if they caught us drinking it. I understand now that our parents did it because they wanted to keep one drink to themselves and not have to compete with  the  kids because we sucked everything down. But, when I was older and on my own, I never bought Pepsi. There was no Pepsi in my refrigerator. I wouldn’t drink it a parties. If I did drink, I had this strong feeling of guilt. I still do sometimes. There are times that I feel like I am violating a rule. I had a girlfriend that did the same thing. I was at her house once and I asked her if she wanted to rent a movie on pay-per-view. She looked at me with a blank stare and said, “no.” Her answer was so absolute and there was confusion as I was asking her a strange question. She said, “I’ve never ordered a pay-per-view movie.” Now, it was my turn to look at her with the blank stare and confusion. I asked, “why not?” We were both in our twenties at the time. She said, “because my parents said we were to never order pay-per-view movies.” I started laughing and I could see her relief as she heard her own words. I reassured her, “Sweetie, you pay the bill now. You can order a pay-per-view movie if you want to.” That night we ordered the movie, but part of me thinks she probably hasn’t since.

There are certain areas of our life where we are still following the rules, instead of making up our own rules. My thinking is that when you reach your twenties and are paying your own bills, that you have served your time under your parents. It’s time to start making your own rules and thoughts that you will base your decisions on. You can pick and choose. The things that you agree with, you adopt. The things that don’t fit you, you discard and you make your own rules. You can’t drive the car from the passenger side. The driver controls the car. Parents have to realize that they never raised children, but they were always raising adults. They’ve done a good job. Now, it is time for you to live your life and make your own rules whether they agree with it or not. Their job is to enjoy you as an adult. The need for guidance will lessen, but still be there. They sit in the passenger seat while you drive the car. It might be scary at first, but eventually parents get used to it. As they trust you more, they depend on it. Then when they really let go, they admire it. Be more than they think you can be.