Good advice

If we would only listen to our friends' advice- wouldn't our lives be easier? Our friends who love us and have our best interests at heart and only want us to have a great life and a great love and a great time going through it all. Our friends who look out for us even when we don't look out for ourselves. Our friends who tell us things we both want to hear and need to hear- the latter trumping the former when necessary. And yet.... we may hear our friends and we may appreciate their advice and we may even know, deep inside, that they speak the truth... but we don't always listen.

One benefit of having friends is that they act as our own Greek chorus: letting us know when danger lurks around the corner, letting us know when to guard our hearts, letting us know when to open our eyes. But just like the protagonist of any tragedy (or romantic comedy) we must follow our own path and determine our own fate. Because while advice is usually not only good to receive but necessary, it's also up to us to make decisions for ourselves. It's up to us to decide to make a decision contrary to public opinion if that's what we feel in our heart. It's up to us to determine whether, just this once or twice or tenth time, to buck convention and try again and fall for someone who doesn't fit the "type" or befriend someone outside of our comfort zone or take a job or make a choice that others consider foolhardy or unworthy or a waste of time. Sometimes the best decisions are those that others consider foolish or unwise. Sometimes the best outcomes start from failure. Sometimes the greatest loves are those others discounted or have written off. Sometimes our fate is best made up of more than predictable decisions made in a predictable manner.

This is not to say that at the end of it all, when and if it turns out that our friends were right, that we won't bemoan the fact that (once again) we should have heeded their advice and (once again) we were wrong to ignore it. But our friends will stand by us and will only say I told you so once or twice; in so doing they won't turn their backs on us and they won't turn a deaf ear to us and they won't shun us or turn us away in our hour of need. They will welcome us with open arms to cry and wallow and gnash our teeth. They will allow us to spend time with them, to seek shelter with them, to be ourselves at our very worst with them. And because they are our friends they will not turn us away. And because they are our friends they will not be angry at us for failing to follow their advice. And because they are our friends they will stand by our side as we pick ourselves up to walk again. Toward someone else. Toward more advice (taken or not). Toward our future. And hopefully, to our happiness. And if our happiness lies contrary to their advice, our friends are also the first ones to jump with us for joy, to cry with us in relief, to exclaim at the top of our lungs that life is good.

After all, this is the life.
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