“Do you,” my friend began to say to me. We we were in our early twenties. The words were often brought up in moments of frustration. At its worst, they would follow anger or loss. At its best, they would trail confusion and uncertainty. Two small words that cast a great shadow with their implication. When you’re young, you’re palatable to such advice. You crave anything to help you understand yourself better. It was the proper conclusion to any conversation. We would nod with the best intentions of finding our own path.
Doing you would morph into many meanings over our twenties but all with similar manifestations: stop giving a fuck about what everyone around you is saying. It’s rooted in a lesson we understood in theory but not yet in practice. Most people can intellectualize that we should be making our own decisions putting little to no weight on the external.
This was the truth behind “do you.” While the action implied was literal to the situation at hand, it more so targeted the preamble to doing you– it meant cut the shit that’s blocking you.
In my early twenties, I often snuck off during the workday to call my friends. There was an empty third floor office space in the historic building I worked at. When I couldn’t manage stress or heartache, this was where I’d go to think alone or call someone. The desolate room had small piles of sand from the termites that were feasting on the old structure. I would often begin to open and close drawers while in a trance of my own thoughts or listening to advice. I never discovered anything besides the dust piles in my explorations. I often walked from room to room searching aimlessly, until one day as if by destiny I found something. It was a tag made of cloth with a string attached to it. The tiny item was asking to be put on display. It read: The golden opportunity you are seeking is within yourself.
This is the underlying wisdom behind Do you. No man is an island, but the twenties is full of exploration, most of which leads back to this conclusion. What you need to live a fulfilling life, to attain peace of mind, or to take you out of the darkness is already inside you. We have an audience of one to please in this life. Do you, my friends.