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"Don't Live By Your Parent's Expectations"

Life-altering words of wisdom from Al Stewart, the musical artist best known for his 1976 hit Year of the Cat.

A question that I love to ask any famous or semi-famous person I meet is "what's your best advice for a young person?"

Most of you have probably never heard of singer/songwriter Al Stewart. He's best known for his 1976 hit Year of the Cat. There's a good chance that you've heard it on the radio before.

"Ohhhhhh, that guy!"

Time Passages, On the Border, and Song on the Radio are his other hits.

These songs are acually outliers; he mainly writes songs about historical events, many obscure. He's a single artist genre.

My dad is the kind of guy who plays music in "seasons", and November was always Al Stewart month. We have similar tastes when it comes to pre-1990s music, so it was something we bonded over.

Fortunately for us, Al Stewart (for some reason) loves the greater Philadelphia area, so he frequents the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville at least once a year.

At the end of his shows, he sits in the lobby for photos and autographs, so I got the chance to ask my question. His (paraphrased) answer?

Don't live by your parent's expectations. Do what you want to do.

His parents wanted him to be a doctor. He clearly didn't care for the idea.

Depending on your personality, it may be difficult to follow that advice. When I decided to take a career break to travel earlier this year, my parents were unhappy. Unhappy enough to make me feel awkward.

But like I mentioned in another post, the more that you expose yourself to an uncomfortable situation, the less it bothers you in the future.

You have to trudge through the discomfort to be able to create your own experiences, good or bad.

Had I not taken the advice or if I'd cracked under pressure, I wouldn't have had my crazy year that was 2018.

Thanks Al.

I'll leave you with this playlist of my favorite songs by Al Stewart. I've listened to a lot of his music, so there are some deeper cuts in here:

25. From Pennsylvania, USA. Software engineer at, traveler, scuba divemaster, amateur photographer, aspiring minimalist. A bit restless.

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