I jaywalk. I return shopping carts to the store. I speed. I stop for stop signs on my bike. I wear white after Labor Day. I call – or at least text – people on their birthdays (sometimes …
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I jaywalk. I return shopping carts to the store. I speed. I stop for stop signs on my bike. I wear white after Labor Day. I call – or at least text – people on their birthdays (sometimes belated).
This is part of the authentic me, part of my personal code of values and morals. And as I contemplate my own birthday this week, I’m reflecting on recent discussions that came about because of a TV commercial for an auto maker.
Perhaps you’ve seen it … a young woman in a sleek-looking sports car is stopped at a solitary red light, apparently in the middle of the night, apparently with no one else around.
The light seems interminable … the screen switches between the light’s stern insistence and the woman’s clear desire to blow through. The light is steadfast, the driver is impatient. Her hand drifts to the shifter … when the light turns green and she roars off.
What would you do in this situation? I waver … after all, I am a Libra. On one hand, I am pretty much law abiding – jaywalking and speeding notwithstanding. On the other hand, at a red light on a deserted road in the dead of night, I might go through the light.
The most probable scenario for me, though, is the one that played out in the ad. Just as I am ready to make my break, the green light flashes and solves my dilemma.
In our conversations, however, I’m affectionately challenged for this straight-arrow stance. What if the law – or the rule or the social convention – doesn’t make sense in a given situation, they ask … would I then break the law?
Okay, here I must admit that my likely wait at this stoplight is based more on the possibility that I might get caught, than on any reverence for the law itself … which, by the way, is also foremost in my mind when I jaywalk and, especially, when I speed.
In fact, when I lived in Colorado Springs and the rest of my family was here, I blasted north multiple times a month that once in a while did result in a roadside chat and a subsequent exchange with a judge.
I don’t speed like that now … I’m much more wary of both the financial and points consequences. But I do follow the flow of traffic, which means that, yes, on occasion I do exceed the speed limit.
And I’m okay with that. It’s part of my personal code, just as giving away food and umbrellas and even money to street corner people is part of my code. Just as standing up to dance at concerts – controversial, if you’ve never noticed – is part of my personal code, part of the authentic me.
So as my birthday rolls around again, I’m more mindful of the types of decisions I make every day, more aware of this authentic me … because what is more authentic than exploring my motivation as well as my resistance, more authentic that what I will stand for, and what I won’t?
What is more authentic than the morals and values of my personal code? After all, as Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”
Andrea Doray is a writer who would love to chat with you about your own personal code. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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