We come into the world the same way. We put our pants on one leg at a time, and even rich people have to bend over to tie their shoes. We experience the same emotions but deal with them differently. We laugh at a comedy on the big screen and cry over the carnage of a well-written novel. How we react is up to us. The world doesn‘t owe me anything, except the opportunity to live and wear silly socks.
The rest is up to me.
The Founding Fathers created the Declaration of Independence giving us certain natural, unalienable rights. Included in them is the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
And, we are created equal.
Equality means that no one is born with the right to rule over others, and the government is obligated to apply the law to everyone.
The Founders didn’t consider government to be an equalizer of opportunity, and I think Thomas Jefferson agreed. Jefferson understood unalienable rights to be God-given, not government given. He had a relationship with his “Creator” and it caused him to look up for guidance.
Unalienable rights are ours to keep, by virtue of our Creator. So said Thomas Jefferson through the Declaration of Independence, and he was seconded by James Madison through the Bill of Rights.
A person has those rights regardless of whether or not he or she chooses to put them into action. They can be denied, violated even, but only under carefully limited circumstances can they be taken away.
We don’t get to live like Robin Hood. We can’t go around taking each other’s possessions and giving them away. We have doors, locks, and prisons for those circumstances.
We are created equal, and while being equal we are all obviously different. Each has a different appearance, personality, skill set, and character. Those traits make us the person our Creator intended us to be.
My intent is not to spark a debate with an upcoming election on the horizon. I haven’t listed the rights as stated in Bill of Rights or even mentioned the right to bear arms.
My point is that nothing is handed to us. We come into the world naked, and we have to make our own path.
I was born into a family of meager means. Sometimes we struggled to put food on the table. I wasn’t the popular kid in school. I wasn’t part of the “in” crowd. I knew that I had to get an education to be successful in this world, at least that is what Mom told me.
Going to college was a struggle, one I was happy to undertake. I wasn’t one of the lucky ones who got a full ride or one who had rich parents to pay the bill. I applied for every scholarship I was eligible for and earned several. I was the first female in my family to go to college, and I was strongly cautioned not to “screw up.” I took on debt, worked as a Resident Assistant, had a campus job, and carried a full-time class load. I earned an English degree and graduated in four years, with honors.
My husband’s story is similar. He was the first in his family to attend college, and his relationships changed upon receiving his degree. His parents desperately wanted something better for him, then feared he would look down on them because of a piece of paper.
We started our married lives with a lot of college debt, then bought some material things that entrapped us farther. We’ve learned a couple of things about handling money. Our personal story is embedded here, and here.
Luck isn’t part of our story. We screwed up. We learned from our mistakes. We worked hard and we turned out alright. We do our best to teach our daughters through experiences that shape how we live.
I am not sure if I will encourage my daughters to go to college. Each is a force of nature that embodies an entrepreneurial spirit. No piece of paper can award that degree. No classroom can teach it. Each has a spirit that drives me crazy as we raise them, but I want her drive to endure. I want her, each her, to always be comfortable going against societal norms to wear silly socks.
What we wear has the power to determine what we think, says Dr. Galinsky of Northwestern University:
“We introduce the term enclothed cognition to describe the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes.”
So, clothing can change the way we think?
It can give us the confidence to take on certain tasks we might not normally want to do. Thus, wearing crazy socks may help us feel more courageous and more willing to take chances.
Men and women who wear “crazy” socks are independent, more interesting. Smarter.
Silicon Valley agrees.
Wearing crazy socks shows that you refuse to conform to social norms by bravely displaying your fun and unique personality. Daring socks are a rebellious act towards customs and norms.
It drives me crazy to match socks when folding laundry, but I want my girls (and husband) to always be courageous enough to wear silly socks.
Dare to be different.
Wear silly socks at age 80.
Sometimes I am still brave enough to wear them.
The world doesn’t owe me anything, except the ability to wear silly socks. They are health food for my soul.
Are you brave, bold, different? Do you wear mismatched clothes? Do you wear silly socks? Or, do you conform? Please share your story in the comments.
This is us, wearing silly socks.