“They Say”

I have heard a lot of people giving advice lately and using the phrase “they say” to give what they are recommending some validity. “They say to eat …” “They say to do …” “They say it is best if you don’t…”

I have a couple of questions- who are “they” and what do “they” know?

In thinking this over I have come to the realization that I would probably not have made any of my life decisions the way I did if I had followed what “they” say.

I probably would not have married my husband- we are very opposite in many ways, more so when we got married than now I think. Nonetheless, I would think “they” might have not thought we were a very good match back in the day. We have been together over 34 years and we are still going strong.

I can remember all of the conventional wisdom spouted out to me when my son was born and I didn’t really listen to what “they” said too much. My 30 year old son turned out pretty well, I think. Maybe he isn’t your average guy, thinks a little differently than most, conducts his life on his terms. That is what I like about him- he doesn’t listen to what “they say” either!

I certainly wouldn’t have gotten a theatre degree at the age of 56 if I had listened to what “they say”!! After all, a fine arts degree is worthless at any age, but totally unnecessary at that advanced age-right? I didn’t really fit the mold and I certainly came across some age discrimination. I did what I thought best, not what “they” said I should do.

I probably would never have tried or put myself out there to do some of the things I have done, if I had listened to what “they say.” My life would be boring and not worth much if I had actually done what “they say.”

“They” don’t know how I feel. “They” don’t know my circumstances. “They” seem to change their minds constantly on what is healthy to eat, what is the smart thing to do, how I should feel.

I have seen people I know follow every food fad that comes down the pike. One day “they say” we should give up gluten, the next we should cut out all sugar, even natural sugar in fruit, the next we should drink caffeine, the next we shouldn’t. Wine is good for us, alcohol is bad, eggs are healthy, eggs will kill you. “They” have told us all of that and much more.

(Have you ever wondered who was the first person to see an egg come out of the backside of a chicken and say “Hey, let’s eat that?” Uh…Sorry, I digress.)

“They” tell us to listen to the news for instruction on when to evacuate and when to close schools for bad weather, but “they” also tell us that the news is fake.

I think I will continue to not listen to what “they say.” I think if I feel that I need to make a move, then I won’t wait the amount of time “they” say. I think if I long for a change, I will make that change. I think if my body works well on a certain type of food and I have done my own research, then I will eat or drink what I feel good about. So far it has worked pretty well for me to ignore what “they say.”

I don’t really need what “they say” to rule my life or give me any more advice. I think what I say and above all what God says is probably quite enough to head me in the right direction.

So if you want to tell me what “they say,” feel free. But don’t be surprised or upset if I don’t follow what “they say.” More than likely what I do won’t even be close.

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Marietta is a graduate of the University of Montevallo with a BFA in musical theater. She has been performing for over 50 years on the stage and continues to perform, direct and teach. Marietta is married to Tim, has a son named Jon, and a cat named Penny.