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Katie Garner: Living ‘by the book’

You should absolutely write a book, but it’s great that you don’t live by one!
Living “by the book.” It’s been a saying, and a valued way of life for years and years. It works beautifully for some people, and living “outside of the box” work beautifully for others. In my opinion, there really is no right or wrong.
For me, I have always lived “outside the box.” I turned 30 in May, and ever since then it’s been the constant question of “when are you getting married?” “do you want kids??” “when are you buying that first house?” “when are you laying down roots??”
Ok, but I mean to be fair, I DID buy my Lexus, my electric Razor scooter, my golf cart (that actually got crushed by a tree recently…RIP), and lots and lots of snacks out of the vending machine at work this year…so doesn’t that count for anything?!?!?
Maybe you’re reading this, and you’re being asked those same questions…all…the…time…but, if I remember right, didn’t this all start back in high school? Has it ever really stopped?
It started here…
• Where are you going to College
• What do you want to do career wise?
• When are you getting married?
• When are you buying a house?
• When are you having kids?
• WHEN ARE YOU GETTING MARRIED??
• When are you getting promoted?
• Who are you dating?
• Did you hear about so and so…(typically gossip, and not something that builds that person up in others eyes)
There really is no ending moment to any of these questions…which is amusing, yet EXHAUSTING!
While a lot of people follow the great “by the book” life- figured out by 30, it just wasn’t the way I chose…or choose to do things, and you know what? That’s okay! I’m totally cool with that! I just wish I didn’t have to make other people, strangers even, okay with it too…ain’t nobody got time…
I do, however, have an answer to those very specific, and exhausting questions: “I’m happy, because I let God lead, and I don’t know what he’s got coming up- but I’m excited about today!”
My favorite verses to back that up are Psalm 37:4, and Colossians 3:23. Check them out. I love them!
Growing up, and even now, I have always had this firm belief that God puts specific desires on your heart for what you’re meant to do- and if you listen to those desires, you’ll peacefully follow the path that he has for you. Colossians 3:23, and Psalm 37:4 give me this peace about life, because i’m following the plan God has for me- even if it doesn’t fit “the mold” that the world has in place for me.
What if instead of grilling each other with questions that kind of put each other between a rock and a hard place, we ask each other “Did you make someone smile today?” “Did you laugh today?” “Are you happy?”
I think a lot of people can officially answer all of those questions with a confident YES, rather than squirm because they feel they’re being judged. THOSE are more appropriate things to focus on in life- because they eliminate any gossip tendencies, judging tendencies, and open the door for a happy convo!
I KNOW I’m a dreamer! My twenties were spent living on a wing and a prayer, trying to nail down that next movie part, that agent I wanted, or that next job.
My parents are amazing, and have always encouraged me in my faith to do exactly what my heart desires- and I really love that! Sometimes, I think it’s made them cringe, or wonder WHAT the HECK I’m thinking…but still, they watched, and loved me through whatever I wanted to do.
As I told them I was going to be in a movie where I died by whistle strangulation alongside David Hasselhoff, they watched…and probably cringed. As I sent out hundreds of resumes to casting companies, and talent agents, and small parts here and there- but finally landing the part of Claire Danes’ stand-in for Season 1 of Homeland, they watched…and gained a little more faith in these dreams of mine. As we realized that all of that time behind a camera got me ready for my first on air job in Charlotte — breaking from acting into the news business — equaling all smiles, all day- they watched…and were really thankful, because I had a “steady” job and more of my dreams were becoming realities.
My whole point is, it’s great to be married with five kids. It’s great to be single and dating. It’s great to be an amazing single parent. It’s great to be in a career you love. It’s great if you’re trying to figure your career or your life out. It’s great if whatever you’re doing makes YOU happy, and you learn some valuable lessons cruising down your special life path.
The best thing about this great big world is…everyone has a different, awesome story. There is no bad story. We should be less judgmental, and more open to learning about why people’s stories unfolded the way they did. Genuine curiosity shapes so much.
Much of my happiness comes from living in different places, meeting different people, spending time with my close friends and family, and one of the things I love most- my career.
If only this world was more of a place that asked less about when I was settling down, and more questions about what made me smile big today, or what I did for others today.
Nobody’s story is ever the same. Everyone is different. Life is a beautiful thing.
If you’re in my boat, and experiencing some serious pressures to “live life by the book” or you’ll be miserable, I think it’s important to know that nobody is miserable unless they aren’t living the life they want to live. Do it. Be fully yourself. Who cares what people think?
We’re not here for a long time, but we are here for a good time!
I’m just here to live life, have some fun, and help others!

Salisbury native Katie Garner is a weather forecaster at FOX 8 WGHP in High Point.

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