My friend K is not from the Southeastern United States, and as a result, often finds humor in the so-called 'rules' of Southern Culture.
Some of our most interesting debates concern fashion, and the often bizarre do's and dont's that seem to exist only in this region of the world. No wearing white after Labor Day or before Easter. A man can't wear a hat inside unless it's a cowboy hat. Only light purple can be worn in spring; dark purple is a fall color. Don't wear black in the daytime...the list goes on and on.
"Who came up with these rules?" K asked me once. "Is there a guidebook everyone reads, or are you all just taught this from birth?"
I had to laugh, because the truth is, I've no idea of the origins of these old fashion rules or why people continue to follow them. But we often follow so-called rules with no idea what logic - if any - lies behind them. We shouldn't date this person because they are younger than us, and we shouldn't date this other person because they are older. We shouldn't wear our hair long after a certain age. We shouldn't try and write a novel until we've had more life experiences. We shouldn't laugh loudly in public. We shouldn't suddenly want to learn to play a steel drum...the list goes on and on, and often, no logic lies behind it.
Instead of a list of shouldn'ts, how about a list of shoulds? We should be bold enough date who we want to date. We should be bold enough to wear our hair the way we want. We should be bold enough to try our hand at a novel, no matter what experiences we have or haven't had. We should be bold enough to laugh from the heart and not worry if it's too loud. We should be bold enough to learn to play a musical instrument at every given oppourtunity. And because it's our life, this list should go on and on, even if no logic lies behind it. After all, it's when logic disappears that joy often comes out of hiding.
The old rules...do they really make sense, or do they no longer apply? Can you be bold enough to shake them up a little?