Nobody’s Thinking About You
Long ago, when I was in my insecure twenties, I met a clever, independent, creative, and powerful woman in her mid-seventies, who offered me a superb piece of life wisdom.
She said: “We all spend our twenties and thirties trying so hard to be perfect, because we’re so worried about what people will think of us. Then we get into our forties and fifties, and we finally start to be free, because we decide that we don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of us. But you won’t be completely free until you reach your sixties and seventies, when you finally realize this liberating truth—nobody was ever thinking about you, anyhow.”
They aren’t. They weren’t. They never were.
People are mostly just thinking about themselves. People don’t have time to worry about what you’re doing, or how well you’re doing it, because they’re all caught up in their own dramas. People’s attention may be drawn to you for a moment (if you succeed or fail spectacularly and publicly, for instance), but that attention will soon enough revert right back to where it’s always been—on themselves. While it may seem lonely and horrible at first to imagine that you aren’t anyone else’s first order of business, there is also a great release to be found in this idea. You are free, because everyone is too busy fussing over themselves to worry all that much about you.
Go be whomever you want to be, then.
Do whatever you want to do.
Pursue whatever fascinates you and brings you to life.
Create whatever you want to create—and let it be stupendously imperfect, because it’s exceedingly likely that nobody will even notice.
And that’s awesome.