Little bicyclist "paper doll" cartoon on highway by Joana Miranda

Winston Churchill wisely said…

When you’re 20 you care what everyone thinks, when you’re 40 you stop caring what everyone thinks, when you’re 60 you realize no one was ever thinking about you in the first place.”

These words have only recently begun to truly resonate with me.  If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent a lifetime (well, in my case, 1/2 of lifetime, since I’m hoping to reach it to 90-something!) trying to…

please  others

-and –

gain approval

Which has caused you to…

sweat the little things

wonder how you compare

– and –

question whether you’re good enough

Little bicyclist "paper doll" cartoon on highway by Joana Miranda

Spending your energy wondering if you will measure up is a pretty terrible way to pass your days.  Not only will you spin your wheels needlessly (what IS good enough?), but you’ll probably eventually exhaust yourself and end up either depressed, or, in my case, quite anxious.

Getting to the point of not caring what others think is a process that’s liberating in and of itself.  Figuring out how to do it certainly might take you ’til your 40.  Of course, the danger is that if you decide simply not to care, you might actually be donning the F— Y–! mantle…a cloak that probably won’t wear well, or serve you (or society) much in the long run.

Even better is to realize and appreciate that your fellow travelers on this journey of life are like you…deeply engrossed in their own thoughts, ambitions, desires and fears.   And while that most likely leaves them no room to think of you, it also means that they probably aren’t wishing you any ill either.  And that knowledge, my friend, is deeply liberating.

So go forward and do what you love to do.  Write a poem, paint a picture, dance a little jig…do whatever it takes to celebrate being YOU.  Life’s not a competition or a race.  After all, we all end up at the same destination.

Enjoy your ride!


  1. Helen Reich says:

    Yes, I think the need to please others and gain approval lies deep within our orchestra musician psyches. I’ve certainly struggled with it.

    • Joana says:

      Hi Helen,

      Pleasing others and gaining approval can certainly serve us well – it’s part of the recipe for success in being accepted by our “tribes.” The hard thing is knowing when you are doing it because you genuinely want to do it, or when you are doing it because you are coming from a place of deficiency and are hoping that your actions will somehow fix that deficiency. Case in point; recently, a colleague mentioned to me that she wanted to go hiking in NY state before she plays a festival we’re both doing. She also mentioned that the only thing holding her back from hiking was the dilemma of what to do with her instrument. Without even thinking, I jumped in and offered to take her instrument up with me to the festival. As I heard the words coming out of my mouth, I realized that I was offering to solve a problem that wasn’t mine to solve, AND I was also making my travel up to the festival potentially more complicated and stressful. Duh! I’m not sure why I offered (she’s a friend and fellow sub so it’s not like I “needed” something from her) and she certainly wasn’t asking me to solve her problem. That said, I felt if I didn’t offer, I wouldn’t be a NICE person.

      I don’t plan to change my personality. Hopefully, I’ll just keep working to embrace what’s already good (enough) in who I am. 😉

      Sending you lots of love always! Joana

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