I’m embarrassed to be writing you, but I’m so confused with life. All my friends know what they want to do and I don’t know what I want to do with my life. I’m in my second year at Troy and am lost. Help me.
I know what you can be. Be you.
This world puts big pressure on you to BE something. They’ll tell you to BE successful, BE studious, BE punctual, BE a straight-A student, BE involved. Be this, be that.
Well, it doesn’t matter what I think, but there are enough overachievers in the world, busy BEING things.
We need more folks who take time to smile. Waiters, waitresses, pipe-fitters, hair-stylists, neurosurgeons, bartenders, line cooks, cops, Episcopals, musicians, architectural engineers, grass cutters, stick welders, and custodians. People who enjoy life.
I met a man named Paul. Paul is cleaning hotel rooms while I write this. I ran into him in the hotel hallway, ten minutes ago. Paul was pushing his cleaning cart, singing to himself.
Paul is skinny, with a voice as country as cornbread. He cleans hotel rooms every day, even weekends.
He starts early and works late. He runs on energy drinks and granola bars. He makes beds, wrestles dirty towels, scrubs toilets.
And he’s singing.
Paul came from Georgia, eighteen years ago. He has taken jobs washing dishes, doing stucco work, laying concrete, mopping floors. He has a wife and six kids. All healthy.
Paul doesn’t want to BE anything. He’s already something. Paul is happy.
You can be, too. You can also be kind to kids, to your girlfriend, and to yourself. You can be kind to elderly women who unload trunks of groceries. You can visit people in nursing homes.
You can be the one who delivers a gift-basket to a family that just had a baby.
And while you’re at it, be sweet to the child whose daddy left town. Be the only person who calls the girl whose mother died. Be at her funeral. Be available. Be sincere.
Be a good listener—we need more of them. Be gentle to every dog you see. Be concerned about those you love. Be a shoulder. Be brave when you don’t think you can.
Be funny when you’re not supposed to. Be a belly-laugher. Be excited about little things. Be spontaneous. Be lazy. Be easy to talk to. Be easy on yourself.
Be happy for newlyweds. Be jealous of white hair. Be a barbecue lover every day of your cotton-picking life. Be yourself.
Be sad when you’re sad. Be glad when your friends win. Be supportive. Be nice. Be decent.
But then, my advice and a dime will buy you a cup of bad coffee.
The truth is, I’m like you. Sometimes, I don’t know who I am, or where I’m going. There’s a lot I don’t know. And I’m not exactly getting any smarter.
So sure, maybe you feel confused about what your Troy University diploma ought to read. But I’ll bet you a million dollars you know exactly what you want to “be.”
You want to be a good man.
And you’re in good company, son. Because one day I hope to be one, too.