Lately I’ve been spending some time thinking about all the ways in which I am not what society expects me to be.
I am smart, wise and curious, but I do not have a college education.
I am industrious and skilled in many areas, but I have not had a full-time job since 2011, and I am not interested in finding one.
I am male, straight and a feminist in a committed long-term relationship, but some of my views and activities do not fit squarely into any of those labels (for instance, we are not married and I don’t think of a marriage certificate as an essential part of what makes for a happy life.)
In many ways I am not living according to the expected plan, the treadmill. The ‘be born-go to school-go to college-get a job-meet a girl-move in-get married-buy a house-have kids-retire-wait to die’ treadmill.
In the past, there have been aspects of it that have bothered me.
I’ve had an underlying critical voice that pokes at me that I should be doing something more important with my time, that I’m just putzing around and wasting my life away. It tells me that not spending time either looking for a job or ‘being entrepreneurial’ and Getting Things Done is somehow wasteful and will lead to regrets later in life.
And then recently… holy fuck! I don’t have to live up to others expectations of what my life should be. I don’t have to give away my power to whatever I’m “supposed” to be doing. I can be a feminist and also enjoy checking out girls in yoga pants (respectfully, of course). I can build my own life, make my own rules.
Sometimes I will be uncomfortable, when my values and the values of the world at large come into conflict, be it individually or as part of a couple or as part of a social group or a political party or anything else.
But, you know what?
There are worse things than being uncomfortable.
This is my declaration of independence from feeling bad about not being who the world expects me to be, or living up to some imagined standard of ‘normal’.
Fuck normal. What an imaginary nonsense concept solely dedicated to making us feel like we’re doing something wrong pretty much no matter what.
Fuck “but you’re so smart, why don’t you just commit to something”.
Fuck “So, any wedding bells in your future?”
Fuck “You’re so interested in human behavior, why don’t you go to school for psychology or something?”
Fuck pushing myself toward making other people more comfortable with my life.
It’s better for me to embrace the freedom and awesomeness that is me right now than worry about not living up to some standard for how things are supposed to work in the name of being more normal.
Come with me.