When I was in ninth grade, I landed the lead role in the school musical, Oklahoma! I was Laurey, the stereotyped lead romantic female who falls in love with Curly, the stereotyped lead romantic male. I was overjoyed.
But not everyone else felt the same way.
You see, I was a FRESHMAN. And there was this underwritten rule that freshmen could not land roles that seniors wanted. I get it, really. It’s this Rite of Passage. As a teacher of seniors, I understand the sentiment. But at the same time, when I was a theatre director, I told my kids that freshman or senior, it didn’t matter. I had to choose who was best for the role.
I remember the day I walked into the first floor restroom. Inside the stall, my name was plastered everywhere in black marker – flanked by all kinds of words I can’t type in this blog post. Obviously, someone was pretty upset about me being Laurey, and they wanted everyone else to know how they felt about me.
I had absolutely no control over getting the role. I was devastated, embarrassed, and sad. I tried to remove the Sharpie on the stalls, but to no avail. It would be up to the janitors to remove my stained reputation.
Eventually, we all became friends. I just tried to remain consistent in my character, humble in my role, and kind to everyone. I’m sure I made some dumb freshman mistakes (let’s just say the director made us “practice” the kissing scene because I was so bad at it), but I worked hard and attempted to make friends with my enemies.
But coping with this issue brought me to a conclusion I have lived by for the rest of my life.
There are ultimately five people whose opinion really matters to me (I wrote about it here and in my book). Not that I don’t care about other people, but there are usually five (or less) people who I inherently trust to tell me the truth and love me enough never to leave me the same.
You see, I went home and talked with my mom about the words on the wall. I trusted that she would tell me the truth. Was I any of those things? Had I responded inappropriately – was I being humble, kind, and consistent? I felt she would love me enough not to leave me the same, to point out any flaws or character attributes that I needed to change.
Recently, I was reading a news article or blog post (I read so many I can’t remember which), and the musician Questlove was talking about his innermost circle.
“You are going to be as educated and successful as the 10 most frequented people
you call/text on your phone.”
Now, I’m not sure about Questlove’s philosophy on life or his credos and mantras. I don’t know about his personal choices or his religious standing. But I do know a smart idea when I see one.
You see, Questlove goes on to say that the people closest to him are those he can learn from. And he feels that is the first and foremost rule to a successful life.
It really got me thinking. Because I’ve always considered “My Five” – and the people I go to as mentors and trusted friends. But who do I text the most? Who do I call the most?
So I pulled up the text messages on my phone and began scrolling. Were “My Five” some of the people I text the most? Are the people I spend the most energy and time on the ones I LEARN FROM? Who am I giving my life to? And do they give back?
I think this is something very important to consider today. In living this Best Day Ever Adventure – living each day as if it were my last – I should be surrounding myself not only with positive people, but with people who stretch me, sharpen me, challenge me, and want the same from me in return. And for me, that means foremost the people who encourage me in my faith.
We often waste much of our lives pouring out to people who only take, who only bring out the worst in us.
Do they live life in ways I would like to emulate? Do they hold me accountable? Do they love me too much to leave me the same?
There are definitely going to be some changes to whom I send texts and the calls I make. But beyond that, I am going to pray about the people in my innermost circle. Are they growing? And in turn, am I growing? Are we growing together?
Just something to consider.
My book, Choose: An Invitation to the Best Day Ever Adventure launched on October 10, 2017! Based on the John 10:10 idea that Jesus came so we can have life to the FULL, each of the 21 chapters has a challenge, a choice, and a change for YOU to live the Best Day Ever Adventure Jesus has for YOU! I hope you’ll grab it on Amazon!
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