Why do people try to tell you what to do with your life? Soon I'll retire from a job I dislike and do what makes me happy, which is put God first and take care of my health. But people are telling me it's a mistake to stop working before I have to. Do you think they know something I don't?
— Gloria H., 60, Vernon Parish, Louisiana
Your question reminds me of something my mother used to tell me. She'd say, "Don't ever let someone else tell you what you can't do. Not even me." We put this line into the film The Pursuit of Happyness, and the scene has become iconic. People around the world have told me that they tell their children the same thing.
When someone says, "You can't," what it really means is that they can't — so why should you get to? You are about to start doing "what makes you happy"; that means you have a dream worth protecting. As long as you have a plan for how you'll live, don't let jealous people turn their insecurities into yours.
The entrepreneur and author Chris Gardner is AARP's Pursuit and Happyness ambassador. Got a question? Ask Chris.