Just Do What You Want“Just do what YOU want,” my friend advised. I pondered that for a minute. Do what I want??

That might sound a little narcissistic to many Baby Boomers who, like me, were raised with a healthy dose of respect for authority and listen to your elder’s before you make a decision. Now that I have more than a few life experiences under my belt, I questioned which method, to listen or not to listen to others, has served me better throughout the years.

For instance, my mother suggested that I should take the business track in high school back in the “dark ages” when women either became nurses, teachers, or secretaries. I followed her advice, and studied stenography, typing, and business math. How did that work out for me: I was fired from my first three jobs out of high school. The third job was mainly typing orders for a lumber company. I sent 500 gallons of white paint from Atlanta to Texas on a train. My boss was obviously upset when he asked if I proof-read my orders before sending them out. I admitted that details were never my strong suit. He then fired me because I was only supposed to send five gallons of white paint on that train.

Ah, but there were times when I did exactly what I wanted. I was an 18 year old single woman who had just gotten a job typing orders for a lumber company (yes, the same paint disaster one) and saw this cute little red Austin-Healey Sprite roadster for sale. It was calling my name. I visualized how I would feel (and look) driving with the convertible top down, wind blowing through my hair on the expressways through Atlanta where I lived. I convinced my fiancé (now husband) to co-sign a loan for much more than I could afford. He did (love is blind and often fiscally irresponsible). I might have heard from a more mature person (father) that older foreign cars tend to break down…a lot…and are hard to find mechanics who work on them unless they charge…a lot…but I did what I wanted and bought it. My job and my Austin-Healey departed my life about the same time.

I would like to say, “If I only knew then what I know now, my life would be different,” but I don’t think that’s true. I probably wouldn’t be where I am right now if I hadn’t made what I like to call so many mis-takes. Getting fired from all those administrative jobs was a wake-up call that I wasn’t meant to type someone else’s material. I needed to create my own material. That epiphany convinced me that I should go to college and get an undergraduate and then a graduate degree.

I research Ad nauseam any large purchase ensuring I am being fiscally responsible and seek out advice from others whose opinions I value but still listen to my heart. (Confession: I did buy a red BMW Z3 convertible).