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Be your own you

In the aftermath of a controversial election, one that brought to the surface and produced a lot of hatred and anger on all sides, it’s important to take a deep breath, forgive and move on. A lot of people have said that they don’t recognize America right now, but I do. This country has survived through 44 presidents, and just over two centuries. I have no doubt that we will continue to persevere through, no matter what next comes our way. I’ve seen a lot of people placing blame and that’s not what an election should be about. Whatever you’re doing, whomever you voted for, as long as you’re doing your best to do what you consider right, that’s something to be proud of. That’s why I’m discussing the song “Something To Be Proud Of” by Montgomery Gentry today.

“If all you ever really do is the best you can/Well, you did it, man.”

The most important thing is for you to be proud of yourself. What other people think shouldn’t matter, even when it’s tough to avoid others’ opinions of you. Breathe deeply and maybe take a little time off social media if you need to. Doing the right thing, the thing that will let you sleep at night, is what matters.

“That’s something to be proud of./ That’s a life you can hang your hat on./ That’s a chin held high as the tears fall down/ A gut sucked in, a chest stuck out./ Like a small town flag a-flyin’./ Or a newborn baby cryin’/ in the arms of the woman that you love./ That’s something to be proud of.”

Follow your dreams. Don’t let other people hold you back or tell you that you won’t make it. I’m not saying become guarded, angry or aloof. I’m just saying that when people tell you that following your passion isn’t practical, don’t believe it. Anything you love doing is what you should do. Even when you fail, try, try again, because as I’m sure you’ve also heard a million times: failure is what leads to success.

“Son graduatin’ college, that was mama’s dream./ But I was on my way to anywhere else when I turned 18./ ‘Cause when you got a fast car you think you’ve got everything./ I learned quick those GTO’s don’t run on faith./ I ended up broken down in some town north of L.A./working maximum hours for minimum wage./ Well, I fell in love, next thing I know:/the babies came, the car got sold./ I sure do miss that old hot rod./ But you sure save gas in them foreign jobs./ Dad, I wonder if I ever let you down,/ if you’re ashamed of how I turned out./ Well, he lowered his voice, then he raised his brow./ Said, let me tell you right now.”

If anyone says you’re not doing enough or that you should be ashamed when you’re working hard and doing your best to lead a good life, then that person isn’t worth your time. Don’t hold a grudge, just don’t include them in your life. You deserve more and you don’t need bullies telling you that you can’t do anything you want.

“That’s something to be proud of./ That’s a life you can hang your hat on./ You don’t need to make a million:/ just be thankful to be workin’./ If you’re doin’ what you’re able/ to put food there on the table/ and providing for the family that you love:/ that’s something to be proud of.”

Anything’s possible. Shoot for the moon! Page 27 of Shel Silverstein’s collection of poetry “Where the sidewalk ends” is one of my favorite childhood poems. Read it. Believe it.

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