I've always been a staunch advocate of living my life the way I want to live it. I'll watch whatever shows and movies I want to, read whatever books I want to, listen to whatever music I want to, spend my spare time doing whatever I want to, post whatever I want to on Facebook and elsewhere...and it doesn't stop there. However, now that I think about it, that attitude has turned people off; when I've offended or bothered those who cared about me, but couldn't care less about what I did, and chose to proclaim my innocence instead of owning up to my mistakes...it was rather off-putting, and led to me losing friends. True, sometimes, I realized the errors of my ways...but, by that point, it was usually too little, too late. If I'd just thought about what I was doing before I did it, I could have saved myself from the consequences.
Over the years, my mom and my sister--who was kind of my second mother, especially when I had no father to speak of--would often say, "What would your friend(s) think if they knew you were _____?" It usually didn't stop me; I was bent on doing what I wanted to do, regardless of what they had to say. Still, I think they make a great point; if my friends--especially ones of the female persuasion whom I was hoping to date--had seen me angrily refusing to help around the house, that would have been a major turn-off.
In both cases, I wish I could say I've put such actions behind me...but I haven't. Just this week alone, I've reacted to situations at home in ways that would embarrass me if my friends were there to witness them. Of course, nobody is perfect; we all mess up now and then; still, continually having to apologize for losing my cool over essentially nothing is not fun for anyone, especially not me.
So, what's to be done? Instead of simply doing my own thing and not caring who I bother or offend, I need to act in a way of which my Christian friends would approve. I know we're supposed to please God and not people, but, I think many of my friends who are reading this would always be pleased with me acting in a Christian way. That also means that I won't do anything that my friends wouldn't approve of, regardless of who is watching. Some time ago, I came across a book that had a cover and plot that appealed to me, even though I knew it was something that I probably shouldn't read. A now-former friend told me to go ahead and read it, and not worry about what my friends and family would think...and not only did I do just that, I also read the sequel. I've also been reading quite a bit of manga; you may know the story of how a scary scene in one of those Japanese comics was burned into my retina, but, thanks to a friend's comment, I realized that much of it isn't something I should be reading for other reasons as well, especially since it often objectifies women. I won't give up on reading or even manga/comics completely; like any medium, printed media can be used for good or for evil. Still, I'll need to make more informed decisions before plunking down cash or store credit, or whipping out my library card, for entertainment...of any kind. If I would be embarrassed for my parents or my Christian friends to see me reading or watching it...then I shouldn't bother.
We all know entertainment is a big thing for me, but this whole thing goes beyond that. Sure, television, movies, books, and music are fun, but they shouldn't be my whole life. As a Christian, it's my duty to help people in need; whatever we do for those who need help, we've done for Jesus. If anyone needs my assistance, it doesn't matter what I'm watching on TV; it's time to turn the set off, get up from my recliner, and take care of business. It also means that I need to have hobbies outside the realm of entertainment; doing nothing but reading books and watching television shows is lazy and unhealthy. In the past, people have suggested that I try my hand at everything from running to martial arts, and I always declined...but I shouldn't have; doing so would help me lose weight and get physically fit, not to mention be much better for my mind than a steady diet of the Disney Channel. I think many people would be proud of me for achieving something that doesn't involve technology or bargain hunting.
In conclusion, I will say this: I once read a Christian book about dating that discussed the oft-asked question: How far is too far before marriage? The author argued that you shouldn't do anything while dating you wouldn't want your spouse to find out about...because, despite how in love you may think you are, you may not end up marrying that person. Secrets have a way of being discovered, sometimes by complete accident. I remember an incident where one of my aunts was positively livid with another aunt of mine because of something the latter had done...but, though my mom told me of the former's angry response, she wouldn't tell me what made her that angry. I eventually found out, though, only because the latter aunt told me during a phone conversation; presumably, she didn't know that my mom didn't want me to know what had happened. I mention that for one reason: If I plan on being married one day, I have to act in a way that a woman would be pleased with; regardless of how I try to hide it, if I mess up, she'll find out about it. Unfortunately, I have turned right many women off; most of the people who have unfriended me have been of the opposite gender, and most of said ladies have been around my age. Of course, I don't want to be a show-off or a braggart, but, I can't expect to be admired if I don't do anything admirable.