Rule #44. “I live for myself and I answer to nobody.”
Today’s Rule for Intrepid Living is a quote from the king of cool himself, Steve McQueen. What’s Steve trying to tell us? I can’t say for certain, but I do have a theory.
It’s not that he doesn’t actually have anyone to whom he must answer. We all do; bosses, bill collectors, the IRS, officers of the law… There really isn’t anyone among us who doesn’t have to answer to someone. That’s life!
No, I don’t think Steve is suggesting he won’t answer for any actions he might have taken. We all have to do that, and actions always have consequences. Instead, I interpret this to mean that Steve answered to no one about the fact that he lived for himself. He lived the life he wanted, not the life that others said he should. He decided who he was, and what he was about, and didn’t feel the need to justify it or explain himself. He just lived his life, starring in movies and doing crazy stuff on motorcycles. That’s the life he wanted, and that’s the life he had.
Steve’s life isn’t for everybody, and that’s okay. We’ve already established that there is no one right way for everyone to live. What’s important is that you live the life you want for yourself.
People will question it. They’ll criticize and complain. They’ll tell you what you’re “supposed” to do. They’ll say that you’re weird, and that you’re going to fail, and that you’re making a mistake…
But it’s your life.
Do what makes you happy. Live for yourself, not your parents, bosses, teachers, or friends. So long as you’re not harming anyone, you don’t have to justify or explain living life as you see fit.
Steve McQueen was cool. Be like Steve; live for yourself.
“Rules for Intrepid Living” is a weekly post giving guidelines for how we can all live a bit more of an intrepid life.