What is it that keeps you from taking the leap to change your life from what it is now to what it could be?
I think the answer is a little different for each person, but I’d be willing to bet that for most – it is simply the fear of being different.
Most people are more concerned with how their lives appear to others on the outside than with how they actually feel on the inside.
And so, we’ve become a culture enslaved to the norm. We are all the same! Or at least, we want to be. And we have become quite proficient at accessing the lives of those around us solely for the purpose of being like them or worst, attaining more.
Why? Because no body wants to be different or unconventional. Everyone just wants to feel normal. But maybe the desire to be normal is a poison slowly killing off the full and rich lives we were meant to lead?
It’s something I’ve been thinking on a lot lately.
If I were to be totally honest, when I was a little girl for whatever reasons, I didn’t feel normal. Thinking back, I can’t exactly put my finger on why. Maybe it was the bad perm and the bottle cap glasses, or that fact that I was a musician and we all know how different musicians can be. But I think mostly I blamed not feeling “normal” on living down a long dirt road with a bit less stuff than most American families we knew.
And so I’ve realized that I’ve spent much of my girlhood dreaming of and much of my adult life working to be normal. Whatever the heck normal is.
And then the funniest thing happened, I got married and we got a normal life. I mean, every single thing that makes up normal in this culture anyways. The mortgage, car payments, debt and those neat, carefully achieved mow lines in the front yard. We even lived in the suburbs once – you know, the neighborhoods where all the houses look exactly the same except for the house number and the cars parked in front. It felt a bit like living smack dab in Sthneedville where they are selling bottled air!
And one day I looked back at my childhood and realized what a gift not being “normal” actually was! I just couldn’t see it then for all the normal trees blocking the view in my forest.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not against normal. After all, normal is well – normal! It is fine and there’s not inherently anything wrong with it.
It’s just that at some point I realized that all becoming normal did was made me just like everyone else. And although that’s exactly what I had longed for as a girl of thirteen, when you’re thirty – being just like everyone else somehow begins to lose it’s glittering appeal.
So after about ten years of normalcy, our lives are now far more unconventional than I could have ever dreamed up.
Why? Well, for starters we:
- Don’t have our children in the public school system
- We don’t let the medical field dictate what potions we should shoot into our systems
- No longer have a mortgage
- We are working towards ditching debt for good
- Live small
- Spend much of our money on experiences over things
- We believe we should educate and raise our own children instead of letting society do it for us
- Refuse to depend on culture to dictate to us what a rich and good life looks like.
Now, we haven’t always done life this way. I remember a time when we frantically shuffled our kids from place to place, with barely enough time to feed them while we killed ourselves to make money so we could hold on tightly to all our stuff. We never took a vacation or went places because quite frankly, the normal American life we were living consumed every single bit of our time and money.
It was an exhausting way to live and quite frankly, it wasn’t living.
Quite often someone asks me, “Don’t you miss all that space you had when you lived in a house?” And my answer is always, “Of course I miss the space inside a house! But look at all the space we actually enjoy living in now!”
And no one ever asks, “Don’t you miss being away from your husband all the time, shuffling your kids from place to place so you could work and never having the time (or money) to enjoy life?
I’m sure you could guess my answer to that one.
So yes, being normal has it’s obvious advantages. Which is what makes it appealing to so many. And maybe our lives will look more “normal” at some point in the future. But I’m honestly not in any hurry to be like everyone else again. Because our willingness to let go of clinging to average – and t0 live unconventionally, has given us a whole new way of living that we could only have every dreamed of before.
Back when we were much more normal.
- We eat dinner together almost every night
- Spend a lot of time outdoors enjoying nature
- TV doesn’t rule our lives or waste precious brain space
- We can afford to live comfortably on one income
- Travel more and experience more
- Meet people from all walks of life
- Learn to work together to create a life
- Do almost everything together as a family!
It isn’t a stretch to say that living unconventionally has given us a life we never had before!
What has happened to us that normal has become living our lives trapped in jobs we don’t love, enslaved in debt with no time to spend with those we love most, travel or actually live life?
That is so not normal.
And if it is, then I’m no longer interested in what seems to have become the normal American Dream.
The truth is, a normal, average life never truly made anybody happy.
So we can just exist or we can live.
Most of the time the danger of spending a life pursing normal ends up being hidden behind the forest of all the “normal” in our lives. And all the while we just might be missing out on the full, rich, abundant life we could have had all along.
The choice is ours.
Choose to be unconventional and live a “one of a kind” kind of life!