You may ask, “Gus, why do you live out loud?” By that, I mean the way I share of myself, both in this blog and on Facebook. You may also be asking yourself, “Don’t you see the risk? What will people think?” I think the more important question is, “Why aren’t YOU?”
Yes, I live out loud. I suppose I always have. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on one’s point of view, it took a rapid series of what some would call a set of tragic personal experiences over a period of 13 months beginning four years ago, that has taken that way of living to new and unimaginable heights. Because of those experiences and what I’ve learned since, everything I do these days is done in a dynamic and outward way. I AM loud, in fact so much so, that sometimes it’s a wonder I can walk. Why? I can’t count the number of times I’ve shot myself in the foot, sometimes both, with speaking my mind. My little sister even gets annoyed on how I shut her front door. I can’t seem to just simply close it gently! When I awake in the morning, trust me, you’ll know it by all the groaning from pulling my body out of bed. But those are trivial matters compared to how I write, speak, and more importantly, how I URGE others to “live out loud.”
So, back to my question, “Why aren’t YOU?” There are a number of reasons I’m sure, many of which you may feel are entirely justifiable, at least from a “privacy” standpoint, but let me put it this way. If you can walk into any public library, sit down at a computer, type in Google maps, search for 221 E. Salina in Tribune, Kansas, and be able to see clearly an 8’ x 14’ shed sitting in the backyard of my old home there, from anywhere in the world, then I can GUARANTEE you there is NO such thing as “privacy” in our 21st century life. Does that frighten you? If so, why? Because you think someone can “see” what you’re doing? Take it a step further into something perhaps you can all relate to. Many, if not most of you reading this, have Facebook accounts. And most of you, I’d venture to say 90% or more, have your settings set to “friends only”, or have even taken steps to keep some of your personal information hidden. Why? What is it you fear? That someone might be stalking you? Certainly, particularly for women, there are justifiable reasons for doing so. After all, God forbid some lunatic found out your email address, phone number, even learn where you live! Plus, you have your families to protect. I understand those reasons and respect them.
But, here’s my point. When you leave your home in the morning and venture out into your world, wherever that may be, many of you encounter people who won’t look you in the eye, much less speak to you or even greet you with a warm smile. And heaven forbid if someone actually “talked” in an elevator for instance. “What can they be THINKING?” you might say to yourself. “Don’t they know that’s not the way we’re supposed to act in an elevator?” You know what I say? WHO, exactly, wrote the manual on how we’re supposed to conduct ourselves in an elevator?! Think back to when you were a child or, better yet, watch children and how they act in public. Sure, a lot of what they do is inappropriate and maybe even embarrassing. And I’ll be the first to point that out, especially when I think of how I raised my children. But what they possess inside, the way their little minds process the world around them, is simply PRICELESS, and an extremely valuable lesson for us as adults.
We should re-kindle the child-like nature in each of us, keep stoking that flame of passion, and don’t let it burn out. Far too many times, I’ve encountered people in the “adult world” who have ALLOWED themselves to speak or act in a certain way, simply because they feel society “says so.” Each of us are unique, each of us have unique abilities, and something we can “bring to the table” for our fellow brothers and sisters in this world. All of us have a story to tell, especially those of us called “baby-boomers.” We’ve seen and experienced things totally unlike anything in history, especially since the dawn of the 21st century.
I’m going to end this latest chapter with an analogy. Do you remember the movie Crocodile Dundee? In a way, I’m a lot like the character in that movie. For instance, when I go for a stroll along the beach I announce it by saying I’m going on “walkabout.” I recall a scene in the original version, the one where he was having a conversation in a bar with Linda Kozlowski, who portrayed the character Sue Charlton, the busy-body New York reporter. She had just mentioned something about another person’s drinking habits and felt bad about it, saying “I shouldn’t have made that crack comment. I didn’t know she had a drinking problem.” Paul Hogan, the man who portrayed Mick Dundee was trying to describe “Walt”, the guide in the movie. He told Sue, “No worries. Walt will take care of it. He’ll tell someone and they’ll tell someone else. And pretty soon, it’s all out in the OPEN. No more problem.”
So, the next time YOU are out in public, or even if you’re discussing some of your personal “problems” with a family member or friend, REMEMBER this: letting go of your FEAR and PRIDE will open up a world totally unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Trust me when I tell you this. Living OUT LOUD is easy, liberating, and even FUN! Try it! When the self-checkout computer lady at your local grocery store says, “Thank you for shopping with us” after you’ve checked out, say OUT LOUD so everyone can hear you, “You’re WELCOME!” You will be amazed how that will bring smiles all around. Just like when you were a child!