The Road Less Traveled: A Guide To Unconventional Living
Many have dared to explain what it means to live unconventionally. Most of the time, though, they just end up looking a little crazy, and sort of like a lost puppy. So, I figured I’d give it a whirl. What do I have to lose, right ?
I obviously don’t mind looking a little crazy, but I’m not sure how I feel about looking like a lost puppy, so I’ll attempt to be creative here 🤔.
Basically, living unconventionally means going against the social norms… the status quo…essentially, being the town weirdo. I don’t mind it, though. Being weird has its perks. So, how does one begin living this unconventional lifestyle, and what are said perks? Taking the first step really is the hardest on this journey, because it means changing your priorities from “them” (“them” being everyone else) to “you.”
That sounds selfish, I know, because it is…sort of…in the short term. Before some people get all judgy, though, let’s think about this for a moment. Take it in. Process the concept that your number one priority should be yourself, while I try to explain why, through the infamous bus crash scenario.
The story goes something like this: A bus driver gets into an accident with twenty kids on the bus. Each kid is screaming and crying for help. Some of them are even bleeding! The bus driver, looking around and injured as well, now has to decide who to help first. Now, as you’re imagining someone in this position, it’s easy to say that your priority would, or should be, to treat the kids with the worst injuries. I used to think that, too. I mean, it’s our responsibility — to protect our children, right?
The truth is though, that the bus driver must first treat him or herself. If the one in control doesn’t make him or herself a priority, that person, who’s injured also, might die, leaving twenty kids with no help at all. The moral of the story is that you have to make sure ‘you’ are ok, in order to help others, but one can only accomplish this by making him or herself a priority. You see, judgy people, it’s not so selfish in the bigger scheme of things.
Once you are able to make this change, the perks pour in! For example, as a mom, my one job is to raise my boys to be decent men and productive members of society. This means lots of practice now, in order for them to be prepared later… and they better be prepared. I’ll come back to that in just a moment.
In this example, we practice by hard work — yes, my kids have to work. (Hey judgy people, that’s your queue again, I’ll wait.) In the short term, it’s about “me.” That’s right. My teenage children have jobs (not optional) and they pay their own bills (while I save my money. BONUS! 😎).
Seriously. If they choose to acquire a bill, it’s their responsibility to pay. No negotiation. That goes for things like school lunch as well; they have the option to pack a lunch, using groceries ‘we’ paid for. Soooo… school lunch? Their bill. After about a week of paying for their own lunch, the lightbulb went off in their heads and they started packing their lunch every day. While we inevitably had to get more groceries, our boys learned how to be frugal, so it’s a win anyway. Here’s to hoping it goes as smoothly when preparing for secondary education, ha!
I mentioned earlier that our kids better be prepared to be introduced as contributing members of society. That’s because part of living unconventionally, means preparing your children for adulthood, then making them live it… sometimes against their will.
This is why our children know that when they graduate high school, they have six months (I’ll be counting the days) to figure out this life thing. They know, now, what their options are later: join the military, go to a secondary school, or get a job. Whatever they choose, they HAVE to leave the nest within 180 days of their high school graduation.
That sounds cruel to some people. To those people, I say to you — my job as a parent is never done. I’ll love my children and worry about them forever, but not because we will live in the same house, and not for the same reasons that many of you will worry about your children post graduation.
You see, my children will know how to be independent, because we practice with them now. They’ll do their own laundry, cook their own meals and pay their own bills. I’m not naive to think they’ll never need help, but our help will come because they’ve helped themselves first… because they will realize that their number one priority is themselves. See how this works?
For most people, when their children leave the nest, it’s a sad occasion. Their babies are all grown up, and it’s hard to let go. I get it. For us, though, its a time for celebration (get the wine!). We will have the house to ourselves (every room!), but most importantly, we’ll be celebrating our children’s growth and major milestone.
I’ve explained the importance of “me first,” but there’s another insight into unconventional happiness that’s worthy of mentioning, and it’s worthy of it’s own paragraph.
Stop owning other people’s problems.
I mean it. As if we each don’t have enough of our own problems! I’ll save this conversation for the next blog, because trust me when I tell you, there is much to be said about that, that cannot be captured in this paragraph. For now, just know that every time you absorb someone else’s negative energy, a part of you becomes negative as well. You know I’m right, you’ve felt it for yourself at some point.
Not to get all sciencey on you, but the statistics are real, but we’ll get to those fun facts another day.
With a bit of an open mind and change of perspective, hopefully you read this and can understand us weirdos a little better, but if not, we’re just going to keep being weird anyway, because it works.
If you have anything to add here, please feel free to share, we’re always listening for ideas that work!