I usually think of myself as someone who follows his own path without a whole lot of concern for what others think of me. Many old friends have complimented me on holding onto the dreams of my youth and continuing to pursue them throughout my life. I have had many people tell me they admire my ability to follow my interests and live my life the way I want to even when it seems to go against the current and against the expectations of other people and the world.
Now, I know these things are not completely true. I like to think of myself this way, but I know that there are many times when I succumb to peer pressure and expectation. At times I know I worry a little too much about what others think of me.
I still have a long way to go in the “not caring what people think of me” department. This was made apparent to me on the 4th of July this year when I witnessed someone who truly doesn't care what the world thinks of him. He may be my new hero.
Like a lot of people in my neighborhood I walked over to the the 40th Street Bridge in the evening. Though they are distant you can watch the downtown fireworks display from there.
I saw him there, shirtless, sweaty and out of shape. He wore a pair of cutoff sweatpants that kept sliding down as he walked, enough so that it was obvious he was wearing nothing underneath. He was drunk and loud and carried a can of beer with him. He walked back and forth across the bridge either unaware or uncaring of the traffic that continued to drive by, giving the finger to anyone who came too close or that honked a horn. He was with an entourage of others who were also drunk and loud and kind of brazenly stupid, but he was the Alpha male of their little troop.
This guy truly doesn't care what anyone thinks of him. He is the Lawrenceville-Laureate of not giving a shit. If you travelled to the farthest reaches of mystical Tibet, hired silent sherpas to lead you along hidden paths to the highest and most remote mountain peak in search of the wisdom and secret knowledge of how to live your life without worrying about what other people thought of you, this guy would be there, sitting on a keg of PBR and giving you the finger.
I like to think I don't care what other people think. Obviously I still have a lot of work to do.