/, Nomad Life/Who’s Calling the Shots in Your Life?

Who’s Calling the Shots in Your Life?

When I was three years old, my dad sent me to my room. He told me I had to sit on my bed until he said I could get up. So I sat on my bed—and stayed on my bed—while I shouted to him in the other room: “You’re not the boss of me! No one is!”

My parents have told this story many times over the years. I don’t actually remember the moment, but yet I have always felt it, deep in my core—this awakening of who I was going to be in the world. I wasn’t yet ready to actually get up off the bed in defiance, but I sat there, swinging my little legs back and forth, shaking my blond head and shouting: “You can’t tell me what to do! You’re not the boss of me!”

Over the years, sometimes I’d play along, and let other people be the boss (or maybe I was just letting them think they were the boss). But all along, deep in my heart, I’ve always known that I am the boss of me. And somewhere inside of me there was always that little girl, sitting on the bed, swinging her legs, silently shouting to teachers, friends, boyfriends, bosses, “You’re not the boss of me!”

Then one day I noticed how easily my feet touched the floor. I started to wonder what it would be like if I stood up. What if I didn’t just silently shout “you’re not the boss of me,” but actually stood up? What if I got off the bed to prove that no one’s the boss of me? Little by little, I tested out this idea, watching what happened each time I gave myself a promotion instead of waiting for someone else to give me one:

Go to college out of state. I’m working in the mailroom.

Move across the country. I’m in the secretarial pool.

Pursue the only career I ever wanted. I’m an assistant VP.

Declare my outrageous plans to travel the world. Executive VP.

Quit my job, strap on a backpack, and hit the road. I am the boss of ME.

It’s been seven years, and being the boss of me is the best job I’ve ever had. I choose where I will live, what kind of work I will do, who I will work with, who I will be friends with, what I will spend my time and money on, whether I will do this or that or the other thing… it is MY choice. No one is the boss of me but me. I do what I do because I want to be the boss of my life.

Are you letting someone else be the boss of your life? Are RULES your boss? The ones that say you have to go to college, study something “marketable,” get a job, work your ass off your whole life with two weeks of vacation a year, get married, buy a house and two cars and spend all your time paying for them?

I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t do any of those things—hell, I own an apartment and I’m getting married—but don’t just do them blindly because society or your parents told you to. Do them because YOU are the BOSS of YOU. You are in control of your destiny.

I’m tired of rules that say that there’s only one way to live. Tired of rules that say there’s a RIGHT and a WRONG way to do things. YOU find your own way—you’re the boss. When you’re the boss, you get to decide when to go to work, and when to take a break. You decide what you will work on. You decide what your business will focus on. You decide where the office will be located. You decide what kind of people you will work with. You don’t have to ask for anyone’s permission.

When you’re the boss of your life, you decide. You decide where you will live. You decide what kind of work you want to do. You decide IF buying a house is right for you, instead of going into crazy debt just because everyone else is doing it. You call the shots.

If you ever ask yourself why you’re doing something, and the answer is “because everyone else is doing it” or “this is the next step in life” or whatever, take a huge step back and reevaluate your decision. You are NOT being the boss of you. Society is being the boss. The status quo is being the boss. Your friends and family are the boss.


I’m giving you a promotion. You are the boss of you. Starting now.

2017-04-10T12:14:14+00:00November 29, 2011|Inspiration, Nomad Life|23 Comments


  1. Laura Gates November 29, 2011 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    Amy, I love this post. When I was a teenager I stood up to my dad in a similar way. I was terrified, he told me much later that was the moment he felt I had grown up! I love giving yourself a promotion! And I love the images of your legs swinging on the bed, I can SEE you.

    • Amy December 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Laura! Yep, these are defining moments for us–and for our parents, too!

  2. Dyana Valentine November 29, 2011 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    YES yes yes–let’s start a Boss Of Me club. You are amazing, Amy. Thank you for this.

    • Amy December 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm - Reply

      Ooh, yes. I’m going to build a clubhouse and you’re all invited! And thank YOU, Dyana – this post most likely would never have been written without your help. xo

  3. marianney (darling blogs) November 29, 2011 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    Hi Amy,
    Awesome post and very well written, I enjoyed the visual of you screaming at your dad. I’ve always been a bit like this as well: subtly defying anyone that wanted to enforce their control on me including bosses. It all started with my own dad. He still tries to boss me, but I think he also knows better, it’s just habit for him 😉

    I think it’s awesome that you’ve already become your own boss. I know I can be, I just haven’t completed my path yet. I know it’s coming though and it makes me feel good knowing something is coming down the line.

    • Amy December 1, 2011 at 3:51 pm - Reply

      Marianne – you’re definitely well on your way to being your own boss! In fact, I think there are LOTS of ways you can be boss of your life even if you still have a boss. 🙂

  4. Ed November 29, 2011 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    OK, For all you readers, this is Amy’s Dad and yes the story is true.
    Amy, I am proud of you and the person you are.

    • Amy December 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Dad! You may not be the boss of me, but I love you! Thanks for putting up with all the years of struggle spawned by my realization that day. 🙂

  5. Leah Shapiro November 30, 2011 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    I love this!!
    I’m definitely in on the I’m the Boss of me club!!

    You are speaking my language here!
    Rock on!

    • Amy December 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      Yeah, baby! We are definitely on the same wavelength!

  6. Laurie Rosenfeld November 30, 2011 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    Fantastic Amy! Love the story and your take-aways! I have similar desires for autonomy and tendencies to follow the rules. “Being the boss of me” sounds like a great strategy. Looking forward to hearing more! xoxo

    • Amy December 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Laurie!

  7. Janna December 15, 2011 at 10:24 am - Reply

    I got to admit that you are a bit fierce in your post. You are such a brave girl to do that in almost all your decisions and I am happy that you have succeeded in doing that. I have lived my life with the guidance of my parents and although a part in my heart tells me to do something else, i sometimes find that many of my parent’s advises are correct.

    • Amy December 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Janna! This is in no way a bash against my parents (or anyone else’s). My mom and dad are amazingly wise, supportive, and thoughtful, and I often go to them for advice—and even listen to it sometimes!

      You’re lucky to have parents who give good advice, it sounds like. But… if there’s a part of your heart telling you to do something else, it might be worth listening to that sometimes, too. You never know where it might lead you!

  8. Cris:Gladly December 16, 2011 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    Ohmygosh, I love this post! LOOOOOOVE it. B/c I am so learning how to REALLY do this for the first time in my life. I’ve been a boss in the traditional work world. I have been my own boss in the freelance world for some time as well. But, now … really just now (the last 2 years), I am learning what it means to be the boss of my LIFE!!

    This post so hit an emotional chord with me b/c these last several of weeks I have been doing this more and more so. Deciding who does and does not get to be in my life (you stay, you stay … YOU?… GO!!) and that I’m so ready to make things happen for myself on a new level. I LOVE the line you said about what if instead of sitting on the bed saying “no one is the boss of me” … you actually STOOD UP (as in: on your own two feet … and PROVED it). Ahhh, this is where I am. Feel awesome and scary and awesome. 🙂 lol.

    Great post. What an awesome first introduction to your blog. Can’t wait to read more!

    • Amy January 22, 2012 at 11:35 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much, Cris! I am so thrilled to hear that this post resonated with you. Being the boss of your life is a whole new wild adventure! Can’t wait to see where it takes you. 🙂

  9. Scott Powers December 16, 2011 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    Amy, I’m really glad I came across your post here. I’ve can so relate to your story, and not following along because that is what you are expected to do. I especially like the line about letting being think they are being the boss of you, but deep down your the one still calling the shots. Kudos for designing a life of your own choosing! PS loved that your dad chimed in on the comments…made miss my Dad.

    • Amy January 22, 2012 at 11:36 pm - Reply

      Thanks for stopping by, Scott! Yes – it’s a sneaky little move to let other people think they’re calling the shots when they’re really not. 😉

  10. Sheri Tomchick February 10, 2012 at 12:00 am - Reply

    I am not just the boss of me, I am the boss I always wished I had! Great read!

    • Amy May 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Sheri, glad you enjoyed it! I love that – “I am the boss I always wished I had!” Be sure to treat your boss well. 🙂

  11. Cynthia April 30, 2016 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    Hi Amy,

    I LOVE your post here!

    It is inspirational and I LOVE your courage and strength to Be, Live your Dreams!

    Am in the middle of figuring out as I go what it is to be the Boss of Me…my Self on day-to-day basis, moment to moment, even
    and incorporating this info my work and lifestyle!

    Looking forward to reading/hearing more of your nomadic adventures!

    • Amy Scott May 4, 2016 at 4:45 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Cynthia! I’m glad this post resonated with you.

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