Looking back on the past 38 years, all the things that happened, all the paths taken and the ones bypassed, I often wonder how I got here. So many random twists and turns have led to right now, which I’m going to be honest, is a really good spot. And a lot of the best things that have happened to me is because I am really good at is ignoring well-meaning advice. It’s part of the human condition: people LOVE to tell others what they should do and how they should go about it because that’s what they themselves would do. We like to project ourselves, our beliefs, our likes and tastes onto others, perhaps in a way to validate ourselves? I’m not sure, but it seems that it’s something we humans like to do. Ever since I can remember, for the most part, I would smile and nod, and go about my merry way and do what I felt like doing. And you know what? Some of the best things in my life are the product of decisions I made where I didn’t take the “good” advice.
#1: My Career Choice: Ever since I was four years old (I kid you not) I wanted to be a radio host. So when I got to college, I majored in Communications. I remember my advisor telling me NOT to get into radio as it was a dying industry and I would never go anywhere. I was 17 years old, and I remember looking at him and thinking “Watch me, bro.”
21 years later I’m still on the air and still loving it. Had I listened to him, like many teenagers would have, what would I be doing? Maybe I’d be happy, but there’s something pretty rad about realizing a childhood dream.
#2: Dropping Out of College: Perhaps if I had made a better choice for my university, I would have stayed the course. As it turns out, the Summer after my Junior year, I got my first full-time radio job at 20 years old. It was a huge opportunity, and I’d have been a moron to pass it up. Problem was, when the Fall semester of what would have been my Senior year started up, I had to schedule classes around my full-time job. I spoke to the advisors, and no one wanted to help. The one class I needed- another Spanish class to meet my language requirements- was only offered in the Fall and was full. They refused to make room for me or let me independent study (even though I was a good student), AND they wanted me to intern at a competing station without pay to fulfill my internship and Senior Project requirements. Because THAT makes sense. I spoke to the Dean and he was like, “Sorry, rules are rules”. So I broke a rule of my own. I dropped out and never looked back. I remember a lot of people told me I was making a massive mistake (except for my parents, who stood behind me) and some people still recoil in horror when I tell them I never finished college, but guess what? Never needed to. Now, if all of a sudden radio stations started saying, “Hey Meg, you need a Bachelors and a Masters to do what you’re already doing” then sure, maybe I would. But in the meantime, I’m just glad I got out of that school and took the amazing opportunity that ended up setting me up for life in my dream career. Sorry not sorry, Lambuth University.
Oh wait, you don’t exist anymore, do you? Shocker.
#3: My Husband: I met my husband when I was 22. I was working at 98.1 the Max in Memphis, and he was a college kid on the remote crew. Basically, he would set up the live broadcasts that I would be the DJ at, drive the vehicle, etc. We were just friends, as I was with the whole crew because we were all in the same age group, and we all liked booze. That’s all it really takes in your early twenties to make friends, right? Eventually JB and I started toying with the idea of being more than friends, which pretty much EVERYONE (again, except for my parents) thought was a terrible idea. On paper, I totally see why. We had recently dated each other’s friends, which of course, is extremely awkward. JB was also in ROTC, meaning that when he graduated a few months later, he’d be Active Duty Army and all that that entails. Plus, JB had a reputation as a “ladies man”- which he denies. He says he was simply a “serial monogamist”… so yeah, you see all those red flags flying, right?
Again, I went with my heart, married him the next year. I remember people taking bets on how long we would last at our wedding. I hope you guys didn’t bet too much…
It’s been almost 14 years, and I cannot imagine a better human to spend my life with. What if I had listened to everyone else? Woah. Potential bullets dodged.
Those are a few big examples of ignoring the “good” advice.
On a smaller scale, I remember all the advice thrown at me for smaller decisions, like “Don’t buy a sports car!!!” (Why? You don’t like awesome?) “Don’t wait too long to have kids!” (Um, not my call baby doll. Also, never say this to someone. Ever.) “Don’t get a Husky. They’re crazyyyy!”- that was from pretty much every dog person I knew when I was searching for a dog after our Great Dane passed. I didn’t listen, and I have the best Husky on the planet who likes to make a habit of randomly showing up on tv with his antics. Maybe had I bought a GoldenDoodle that never would have happened. Or “Don’t get an Arabian- they’re stupid!” while horse shopping. Cool. I have two now. #noregrets
Also, “The Bachelor”, “Twilight”, “Fifty Shades of Grey” are all crap. I can’t tell you how many friends told me to give it a chance. Totally should have listened to my gut there.
You see? Bad things happen when you ignore your instincts.
The main thing is, it’s YOUR life. So many people will tell you how to live it. But guess what? THEY don’t deal with the consequences, but YOU have to. If you want to be a circus performer and wear tutus to the grocery store, then DO IT. If tax law is your thing and Brooks Brothers is your crack, go for it. Don’t let anyone stand in the way of what your heart truly wants. Unless it’s to be an ax murderer, and then that’s a whole different issue.
You get one shot, and you might as well do it your way. There will always be someone telling you what they think you should do. Smile, nod, say thanks, and go the other way. Just keep being you, and trusting your instincts. You won’t go wrong. And when you look back like I am right now, it gives you even more to smile about.