I am not a natural born leader. I don’t really feel bad owning up to that, because I tend to be honest with myself. I pretty much know my strengths and weaknesses. I believe that some people are born leaders. Others can learn the characteristics that can help them to lead, but it will never be innate.

Because being a leader is not my natural instinct, I have always been influenced by what other people do and how they think.

I am a total people pleaser. (For more on people pleasers or “guessers” – see wifeylifey’s enlightening post here.)

I have to be really careful, and try to always be true to myself when I make big decisions. Is this what I really want to do, or am I doing it because someone else told me it’s the right thing?

As I enter true adulthood, I feel like this people pleasing thing has been taken up a notch. Let me explain.

When you are young, there is a certain lack of accountability and irresponsibility that allows you to live by the seat of your pants. I remember being influenced by bullies and friends alike, (to wear trendy clothes, to drink alcohol, to smoke, etc.) but I had that “eff the world” attitude, and a young mind and body to back up said attitude. I was also only responsible for myself. If I made a rash decision because someone else told me to do it, the worst that could happen was detention or a botched friendship.

Now that I am older, I still feel that sway from others, but in bigger life decisions. It’s no longer, “Should I smoke that cigarette?” It’s more like, “We need to buy a house.” The keeping up with the Joneses can envelope your life. We are moving into roles like spouse and parent. We are being promoted to new levels at work.

But still the world does not operate much differently from when we were younger. There are still the bullies. There are still the nosy people who are all up in your business. There are still the people who want to tell you your way is the wrong way. There are still those who want to see you fail.

Also, we aren’t just accountable to ourselves anymore. We have spouses, parents, in-laws, coworkers, bosses, and possibly children (eeek!)

I feel like I am questioning myself more than ever these days. I read posts online or I talk to friends or I have lunch with my mother-in-law (haha!), and I am constantly confronted with all the influences and opinions that are swirling around me. Everyone wants to tell me their opinion, and the best way to live my life. (Some influences can definitely be good ones. But I’m not talking about those today.)

It is easy to get lost and be confused. I mean, I was on Twitter the other day, and I was like, “Maybe I should start watching a certain TV show, because everyone watches that show.” Ummm, really?! How high school can I be? And those mommy wars? Kinda like junior high school.

Just as parenting doesn’t come with a manual, neither does marriage nor growing up.

Do you ever find yourself questioning your decisions? Do you ever feel influenced by what you see and hear around you? Is adulthood basically just high school with higher stakes?

August 13, 2010
August 17, 2010



  1. Reply


    August 16, 2010

    Such a great post! I definitely go through that same thought process, especially as a people pleaser. It can be challenging!

  2. Reply


    August 16, 2010

    Do you ever find yourself questioning your decisions?
    All the time. (And let me tell you – nothing makes you second guess yourself like a divorce. It's uncharted territory that I never expected to find myself in.)

    Do you ever feel influenced by what you see and hear around you?
    ALL THE TIME! It was harder in my 20's than it is now that I've spent some time in the 30's. Some magical form of acceptance happened in my 30's that helped me realize that everyone is on their own journey. Sharing them with one another is great, but no two people are on the exact same journey. And – what people portray on the outside, no matter how honest they intend to be -often isn't what's going on behind the curtain.

    Is adulthood basically just high school with higher stakes?
    They say we don't deviate much from the people we are when we're 6 years old. More and more I believe that.

  3. Reply

    honey my heart

    August 16, 2010

    i see people around me in grad school or traveling or buying houses or having kids, and begin to think "i must have all of those right now!!!" then i remember that everyone has their own circumstances and my journey will take its own course.

    great post carly πŸ™‚

  4. Reply


    August 16, 2010

    All the freaking time! When my best friend got pregnant with her first, I wanted to get pregnant (I wasn't in any sort of relationship and I really don't want kids). I still feel some pressure from society to have kids even though that's not what I want.
    Hubby and I have converstations about what other people have-how come they bought a house, why can't we afford a new car like so and so. But we want to get out the debt we have so no new debt!
    It's a daily struggle. I try to minimize the I want what everyone else has and it helps me feel less bogged down.

  5. Reply


    August 16, 2010

    Lately I have been noticing how wrongly I have always perceived "adulthood." When I was younger I always though (as I'm sure most do) that when you're an adult you have all the answers, you don't play silly games, you have it all together, you can handle anything. WRONG! Now that I am an "adult" I constantly criticize myself for not being that "all together" adult I always thought I'd magically turn into. However, I am also noticing that not many people are! I see so many adults who act like children, who play stupid childish, immature games, who act like they have no responsibility (when they really should) or sense at all. I am constantly amazed at how these people exist. We're all just little kids in big people bodies with credit cards and jobs. There is no magic child/adult switch that makes us dump our childhood crap. The perception we are raised to have of adults is so out of whack! You're certainly not alone here!

  6. Reply


    August 17, 2010

    i agree with honey my heart…. everyone has the ITS ALL URGENT thing. they want babies, houses, nice cars, vacations, etc… all at once. We see other people with certain things and we feel we should have it too. I lost a friend that way.. being envious eventually tore us apart. Everyone's situation is different. I am a people pleaser too (although I wish I wasn't)…

  7. Reply

    Chicken Wing

    August 17, 2010

    I absolutely agree with this post and have had similar moments myself! I even tried to convince myself that my very long-term relationship was still right because everyone told me it was! How crazy is that? Looking back on it now, I most likely would have ended up miserable, but I was steadily moving along because "that's what adults do." You graduate from college, and you get started working, then you settle down and get married. Every now and again, I really have to give myself a gut-check and reevaluate WHY I'm thinking a certain way, or what the possible outcomes could be. Great post, Carly!