This past Friday we celebrated the 17th birthday of my youngest child as well as the 60th birthday of my mom. We always joke that it can’t be a coincidence that Q was born on my mom’s birthday. Although they are at distinctly different times in their lives, they are both independent thinkers; have kind hearted souls; and a bit of a bend toward mischief. They are, as older people say, “cut from the same cloth.”
And now this weekend we have what I believe will be the best super bowl halftime show ever in the history and future of all halftime shows. And I am sure I am not the only person that recently has been surrounded by TikTok videos and Instagram reels indicating that “when the first beat drops all kids will know who their parents really are”… but my kids have always known that this music was an important part of my rebellious teen years.
Like most teens, I operated with impulsive, selfish driven thinking and made many bad (and some awful) choices… (while also honestly having a lot of fun.) This music was not inspiration for my actions, but these forward thinking artists provided the soundtrack for the pinnacle of rebellion in my life. It actually feels woven into my history so tightly that to suddenly undo it would seemingly cause it all to unravel.
And so for my kids to not know my love of 90s hip hop would indicate that they don’t know that I also was once a teenager. And that I too experienced the connection to music that broke boundaries. That I too broke boundaries.
I needed some time to fully cultivate and understand my personal core values and beliefs. And I then needed to learn how filter my choices through those parameters, combined with the awareness of how my decisions impact others. I walked away from rebellion and toward independent thinking. Always forward. Into my own next episode of life.
We all need some time. And the next generation benefits from seeing the value in being present, as they are now, and then also aware of their own personal evolution.
Luckily, I have grown up, forming new parameters in which to filter my decisions through. I have done this by intentionally cultivating self awareness and trust while simultaneously gathering wisdom through the years. I am still wonderfully imperfect and consider myself an independent thinker. BUT, I have also learned more about the value in following rules and developing a strong foundation of interdependence with others. I call myself a rule “bender”—questioning and staying curious about the “why” behind rules and following the ones that are for my safety and the wellbeing of others…. And then maybe restructuring just a few.
These recent and upcoming events drew me to contemplate how we can keep growing. How we continue to set and actualize big goals, whether we consider ourselves “independent thinkers” or dedicated “rule followers.” How we can be both.
So how can you find your personal balance to ensure that you are giving your honest self to our goals?
- Develop self awareness. Be present. Acknowledge your core values and understand your priorities. (Pretty much always the same foundational practices I preach every week.) Filter your decisions through your core values and belief systems.
- Get comfortable being uncomfortable. If you are uncomfortable questioning rules, methods, or processes then give that a try. If following rules isn’t your “thing” then try that. Be a part of the process and ask questions when setting physical goals. And at the same time stay coachable— willing to learn from others rather than entering the process already having decided that you know better.
- Stay curious. Staying curious leads to a willingness to learn while being open to cultivating self trust. Questioning other people, resources, and even some rules does not need to lead you down a destructive path. Follow your intuition, or your “gut.” Seek out information, not only validation.
- Investigate, but don’t be rebellious for the sake of it. That is often a result of low self esteem, rather than confidence and self-trust.
- Be open to thinking differently. Stop defining one way of thinking as “good” or “bad” or “right” or “wrong.” Research the potential positives and drawbacks of your choices. Using “independent thinking” in goal setting allows you to fully participate in the process. Do not act as a programmable robot, but also don’t justify your reasoning for quitting too quickly.
- Learn to “read the room.” Stand up for change while still being aware of how your actions impact others. Take some risks, but don’t be a selfish a**hole (that is the simplest way to put it).
- Communicate. Ask questions. Be open to investigating your thoughts to allow your feelings and actions to follow with authenticity.
It is funny- when I feel unlike myself I often play some of this 90s hip hop to return to a time when I felt that I could make any decision. The lyrics make me cringe a bit more than they did when I was 17, but the nostalgia helps center me. I don’t run out and hide in a field with a case of Busch Light that a friend’s older brother dropped into the trunk of my car. Instead, I remember that I can choose to be present in myself, even when unpleasant. I can let go of “shoulds” and yet still respect rules that impact the greater good. I can have grace for my constant personal evolution.
I can be me: living, coaching, training, loving, laughing, parenting, trusting, listening, failing, and succeeding all within the parameters established for the safety and well being of others.
Feisty and compassionate. Leading and following.
My balance of it all. I hope you can find yours too.
Your next episode—decided by you.
Disclaimer: I am very well aware that the lyrics of most of these songs and the actions of these hip hop artists can be quite awful regarding treatment and objectification of women. I won’t sugar coat or patronize you with some kind of made up reason why that is okay. I am certainly not endorsing them as role models or the lyrics as a behavior guide.