No, You Don’t Have To

June 18, 2018

It must have happened about 60 years ago. My grandmother decided that it is high time to paint the walls in the bedroom. My grandfather however concluded that walls were still perfectly fine. Since they were both stubborn and convinced about their rights, my grandmother decided to realize her plan rather with a help of a handyman. At the same time my grandfather, who was sure that there is no need for the painting, was determined not to resign from his little pleasures in the meantime. My grandmother and the handyman ended up pushing a sofa with my grandfather reading on it, to paint the walls.

This is just an old family story, and I am not sure how much true is in it. However, it was my grandfather that gave me one of the most important lessons that definitely shaped me as a person. Every time when, as a kid, I told him that HAS TO do something, he used to answer: most of the things in life are just choices. I can do it, if you really wand me to, but there is no way to force me just because somebody said so. I HAVE TO die and respect other people’s freedom and that’s about it.

My grandfather came back to me in my thoughts when I was listening to a conversation of my friends. One of them was saying that in her (highly developed) Asian country, adult women cannot go out without a makeup. The other answered that it is pretty much the same here in the financial district in London. Then I realized that even in Poland or the Czech Republic some of my friends insist that there is a kind of an obligation to wear a make up to work. I am sure that there are few specific professions with that liability, but none of my friends has a job like this, they just feel they need to fit people around them. And in their environment everyone wears a make up.

Make up is just a symbol. People that I meet often “have to” do many things that from my perspective are just a simple choice that they make. Like wearing high heels, starting to smoke when young, drinking alcohol during a party or taking huge credit to buy an expensive car because everyone around already has one. Of course you can do all these things, but trust me… you don’t have to. You don’t have to try weed when everybody tries, you don’t have to stay in a job that you hate (when the unemployment rate is low like now;), you don’t have to follow instructions from your parents when you are 35 years old.

Although you can do all of that if you wish to – because it is your choice.

Sometimes I forgot how refreshing it is to be free. And then I meet one of the “have to” persons and send thanks to my grandfather again for teaching me that I can pick my own way.

So once again. You don’t have to but it’s worth to try. Be yourself, be free. Do what is worth doing, not what other people want you to do.

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