More than once, a young person has vented to me that their parents are always telling them what to do.
Yeah, I understand. Parents want to guide and nurture. But sometimes we go too far. I get that.
So, my teenage friend explains, in their very human need to break free of parental advice and become their own person, they decide to reject everything their parents tell them to do, and in fact, do the exact opposite.
And here's where I carefully offer a bit of unsolicited advice
Hmm, yeah, I get that, I say. Always obeying your parents puts your life in their control, and that doesn't give you much practice in growing up. But isn't disobeying them at every turn just the same problem in reverse? By doing the exact opposite of what they want, aren't you're still letting them make all the decisions in your life?
So what am I supposed to do?
What if you make your own decisions? Listen to their advice, for sure, because they might have some good ideas. But then decide for yourself what's right for you. That's what it means to be mature, right?
Right, my friend would concede.
About eighteen months ago, I was shopping online for a white vase. I'd peeped a new style that was really catching my eye - round and white like a big ol' doughnut - and I loaded my favorite variation into a shopping cart and was about to pull the triggers.
When an uneasy feeling began to creep into my mind.
These vases were suddenly popping up everywhere. In stores, on blogs, across Instagram, they washed up like dead crabs in the high tides of my life, and suddenly I was concerned.
They're too popular.
I walk a weird line with trends. I like to pay attention to what's happening in the worlds of fashion and decor but I draw a hard line at falling in line behind them. After all, I'm at least 77% rebel, and rebels don't follow trends, you know?
So I didn't buy the vase.
The vases continued to surge in popularity, and I smugly patted myself on the back for not buying one.
Though I sill really liked them. Probably more than ever.
A few weeks ago, my second-born sent me a pic of her living room, and there on her side table I noticed it.
A vase, round and white, like a big ol' doughnut.
Oh, wow, I said. I love your vase. I thought about getting one but they're so popular.
And then my second born schooled me.
Yeah, they are, she said. But who cares? I really like it so I bought it.
I suddenly saw it all so clearly.
Refusing to buy something I really like simply because it's trendy is just as silly as buying things I don't like only because they are trendy.
Kinda like disregarding all of your parents' advice just because you don't want to to obey their every command, right?
I think I just learned a valuable lesson about taking my own advice.