Long ago, when I was in my desperate and confused 20's, a brilliant, independent, wonderful woman in her 70's gave me this incredible piece of life wisdom.

She said:

"We women spend our 20's and 30's so worried about what everyone is thinking about us. Then we get into our 40's and 50's, and we finally start to be free, because we decide we don't give a damn what anyone thinks of us. But you will not be completely free until your 60's and 70's, when you will finally realize this liberating truth — NOBODY WAS EVER THINKING ABOUT YOU, ANYHOW."

They aren't. They weren't. They never were.

People are just thinking about themselves — all caught up in their own dramas, their own fears, their own regrets and tasks and insecurities and distractions.

"You aren't on anybody's mind," my friend told me. "They don't have room in their minds to be worried about what you're wearing, what you're doing, how you're living…"

While it may seem lonely and horrible at first to imagine that you aren't on anybody's mind, there is also — as my wise older friend told me — a great liberation to be found in this idea.

I wrote down her message in my lucky notebook, and I've kept it nearby forever (along with my plucky, self-confident little fox totem.)

You are free, because everyone is too busy worrying about themselves to worry about you.

Go be who you want to be, then.

Do what you want to do.

Dress how you want to dress.

Love who you want to love.

It's exceeding likely that nobody will even notice.

And that's AWESOME.


via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall