Unconventional Living Vs Mainstream Living: What's Your Opinion?

in #life4 years ago (edited)


In all sincerity I'm thankful every day that Steemit exists.  Thankful for this light-and-love-filled community which embraces all kinds of people from all walks of life.  Diversity and difference is celebrated here.  It's the one place I don't feel judged or categorised.


Thank goodness for this alternative way of earning a living that's flexible and doesn't require compromising your sense of self.  It means I can be a Home Mama, and raise and educate my son myself - this option doesn't exist for me in the mainstream world.  Unfortunately though, my Western culture frowns on anything alternative and is relentless in its demand for conformity. 



  

Contrary to opinions of others throughout my life I don't try to be different.  This opinion has frequently been the cause of much grief and inner turmoil for all my 32 years, because I am who I am, and although we can change aspects of ourselves, we can't force ourselves to be someone we're not.  I simply act and react in accordance with my nature and moral convictions.  I'm just living my life as me!  
  

I didn't choose the 'unconventional box' instead of the 'mainstream box'... I don't even think in terms of boxes.  Mainstream's just like a template isn't it?  So what's wrong with designing things yourself if the template doesn't work for you?  There's some strange notions mainstream folk have about unconventional folk, most of it nonsense, some of it really hurtful.  



Tell me, what's foolish or irresponsible about following your heart rather than the crowd?  Why is going your own way a thing to be cautioned rather than encouraged?  So I prefer my wellies to my smart phone, so what?  So I haven't used either of my degrees for a career but instead choose the simple life... what difference does it make to anyone else (and have you not heard of 'transferrable skills')?  I turn to nature before I turn to doctors.  I didn't have a big white wedding.  I want to home-school my own son.  I don't have a TV, and I don't care for afternoon tea in Betty's.  Why do some people object with such fervour to the less traditional approaches of others?  Who the heck cares so long as we're not hurting anybody?
  

Creating a life that allows your true nature to flourish, that supports health and happiness, and enables you to be around people you want to be around is perfectly reasonable, is it not?  I've constantly been told “everyone else has to...” (slog it in a job they hate, or bow down to imposed authority, or have their cigarette breaks dictated to them by their boss) ... so what makes me so special I can simply “opt out”?  
  

But I'm not “opting out”... I never “opted in”!     
  

I consider myself an autonomous person entitled to the freedoms of self-determination, as everyone should be.  Why should we live a particular way just because we're born into a particular culture with particular expectations?     


 
  

The Western Capitalist culture thrust its expectations of conforming to mainstream lifestyle upon me, and all my natural instincts repelled it from a very early age.  It wasn't a conscious choice, nor deliberate revolt, nor attention seeking.  It's not the result of peer influence, or a magazine I read once, or rebellion for the sake of rebellion.  I've felt like this since I was a child... it was in me already.      
  

Western mainstream society tells me I should pursue a career that allows me to be financially comfortable.  It wants me to admire and aim for a certain level of social standing, to associate with certain types of people, to own certain material items (or at least know how to use them), to have approved plans for the future, to be content moving between the box I live in and the box I work in.  
  

Be productive.  Be useful.  Put up, man up, shut up.  Sacrifice anything you can for profit and personal gain and if you don't you're a hippy or a quack.  You're weird.



  

But I despised the drudgery, the endless expenses, the uniformity, the general lack of love and spirituality.  I kept thinking of the ground beneath the pavement, once lush and green and alive.  So I felt like the ground beneath the pavement, suffocating more with every dollop of concrete.     
  

I have no interest in a way of life that promises to leave me unfulfilled no matter how hard I work, not to mention one that supports the destruction of the planet in the process.  What I long for is the simplicity, the raw skills, the spirituality and the genuine community of the indiginous.     


(source)
  

I've never been able to accept the idea of suppressing true natures and moral convictions in order to meet the popular attitudes of what consitutes 'normal behaviour', 'normal thinking', 'normal choices'.  What's important are the things that person stands for, and how they treat others.  Everything else is entirely subjective and shouldn't have to in any way resemble the approaches of anyone else.  Each to their own I say, as long as we cause no harm.  
  

But you know, many Westerners are ever so arrogant and full of prejudice, assuming the whole world ought to and wants to live as they do, and if they don't there's something inherently wrong with them.  We're taught in school that the 'third world', the uncivilised and undeveloped ought to be pitied, ought to be aided and introduced to the luxuries of our culture.  These attitudes are reinforced daily through propaganda most people aren't even aware is all around them.  But I was.  For me I was living in a wicked empire akin to Babylon and I just wanted to get the hell outta there!     



  

Through experience and observation I find that unconventional folk are generally happier and healthier, more compassionate and generous, than those living mainstream lifestyles.  Once you escape the box, you notice all kinds of possibilities.  There's more than one way to do things, thank God!  
  

For every one of my unconventional 'baffling' decisions, the mainstream person baffles me with theirs.  The difference is - I keep my opinions to myself unless specifically asked.   
  

But the thing is, most of the time 'unconventional folk' don't feel the need to judge or comment, they just live and let live.  The judgement, in most part, comes from the mainstream crowd.  They think they have a right to criticise because they're the majority.  They think it's okay to voice uninvited opinons about your decisons or finances or parenting.  They often look down on unconventional living, assuming we're lacking wit or wisdom.  That we're foolish, irresponsible, that we don't think things through properly, that we'd even risk the wellbeing of our children as we go 'la la la' through our lives!!!  



  

That's the one thing guaranteed to cut right into my heart - suggesting my son's wellbeing might be compromised through the way that I live.  Me! - a trained nurse, a health researcher and advisor, apparently needs to be reminded not to neglect my son's health.  Huh???  My Steemit friends would find this absurd, since they know the complete opposite is true.  Nothing is more important to me than the health, happiness and opportunities of my precious son.  Nothing!  Crikey blimey.  My blood boils and my heart weeps at these unfounded assumptions, but what can I say other than take a look at my healthy son, look into his smiling eyes, and judge my life by its fruits!!!  



  

My view is this: we can choose to centre our lives on truth rather than a fallacy, that is, that we have no alternative to the system, that the mainstream way is the only way.    
  

First we become aware of what governs us, then we choose what we are governed by – either our own moral code or the so-called values encouraged by a self-serving consumer culture.  We're so afraid of standing out, of standing up, of getting into trouble, that we allow terrible people to continue in their control and destruction of our lives (and souls!) and the very earth that sustains us.     



  

Some people like me realise how much freer, healthier, happier we can be doing life our own way.  In this case surely we're left with no choice but to put fear of these social and legal pressures aside in order to uphold what's true about ourselves?  Otherwise we're constantly compromising and trying to fit that square peg into the round hole.  It really doesn't fit.


But you live your life and I'll live mine.  


(source)

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Nothing is more important to me than the health, happiness and opportunities of my precious son.

But you live your life and I'll live mine.

This is the best words I read today.

We are on the same track.

:-) Thank you @shielashraf... it's good to know I have another kindred spirit within the Steemit community!

Now that I am older. I don't really care much about what others think of me.

Most importantly, I don't feel the need to explain or justify why I behave certain ways, or why I do certain things as long as my action does not affect others negatively then, I feel great!

And, because of that, I feel that I can be myself and FREE.

You would be surprised that other people actually envoy you because they don't have the courage to be themselves.

I'm glad to hear that you don't let the opinions of others get to you :-) I don't care what strangers think, but I still care when family or friends still treat me like a clueless idiot just because I live different to them! I hope one day they will just accept I am who I am, just as I accept who they are even if I don't agree. We're all different, and if we weren't it'd be a pretty boring world! I think you're right, and my husband says that too, about people being envious because they lack courage themselves :-)

I have a lot I could say on this, but can't quite come up with the right words for a solid response at the moment! Mainstream Western (more specifically the United States) culture makes me a bit sad sometimes. One of these days I'll sit down and write about my "unconventional" choice to not have children and how even close friends still seem to question me about it because it doesn't seem "normal" to them. Thank you for sharing a little more of your story, and I for one am very pleased to get to know such a thoughtful and kind human being! :)

Thank you for your kind words Katie :-) I would definitely love to hear about your unconventional choices if you decide to share them! I know a few other people too who chose not to have children and why should anyone else even have an opinion about it? It's your life not theirs for goodness sake!

One of the reasons I wrote this actually was in response to someone in my life recently who sent me such a deeply hurtful email, full of judgement and insults... oh my! I haven't responded... I don't know how! But hey, we can't make everyone understand our lives unfortunately. That's why I love Steemit... here are so many other like-minded, warm-hearted, kindred-spirits who I genuinely sense their overflow of loveliness, and it's like the community I always dreamed of!

Uuggh, I don't know if I would respond to a hurtful email either. It would probably depend on who sent it. I don't know what's worse--something outright like that or constant mildly derogatory comments that the person doesn't even realize how judgemental they are being. I try to avoid negativity as much as I can. It saps so much out of me that I would much rather surround myself with positive people!

That's how it feels for me too - saps the light and strength from me. I was totally crushed and it's proving to be very difficult to move past their comments. Unfortunately it was someone close to me so will have to respond at some point. I'm a very forgiving person, but it's hard to forgive when there's no apology or even a realisation that they've said anything hurtful! I will figure it out, for now I'm just breathing through it, chanelling the pain into good old exercise and positive missions on Steemit! And also interacting with lovely people like yourself does me the world of good, thank you!!! :-)

I will send good energy your way! I am sure you will find the right way to respond on your terms. Exercise is definitely a great way to achieve catharsis in my humble opinion. ;) You may not get that particular person to see your way, but hopefully you can achieve some peace one way or another!

Thanks so much, you're such a lovely person and I hope you know how much positive effect you have in my life.. really and truly! I know peace is just around the corner and all will be well :-)

You seem to have a very soft and warm heart. And there is a saying that I know: if you wan't to have a soft heart, you need a rock-solid arse.

The truth is that people are people when they criticise others for not being them. It's a sad truth. A member majority gets knocked out of their comfort zone when interacting with someone that doesn't belong to the majority.

If anyone doesn't accept your ways - it's fine. If anyone doesn't tolerate your ways - they need to sort their stuff out big time.

I grew up with a desperate need to belong. The easiest way to crush me would be to exclude me. I grew an imposter syndrom-like thing that hit through the roof when I was leaving my first job. But I was lucky enough to meet some wonderful people who would systematically disintegrate the feeling of being not got enough into something that could be tackled. It's far from being over, especially in social interaction, things can easily get awkward.

I live in a sort of a limbo, where I don't know where to lead my life and that of my wife and children. Things are as stable as they can be with not much solid ground under my feet.

Every time I have an opinion I ask myself: what if I'm wrong? That's why I keep listening to people who leave me unsettled, who point out when I'm wrong. Cause I can be wrong, right? This fits into my belief that everyone should be a minority in something and that whatever the difference, all humans deserve respect.

I'm not even close to dropping the consumptionism. I strongly believe we all should know at least something about being self-sufficient, learn some basic skills like bread baking, or knowing how to fix things. Or asking a neighbour for help/advise. Or reaching out with a helping hand, but don't think I will ever manage to just leave it all behind, even tough I'm still only dreaming about becoming priced in and part of my limbo is some people deciding Brexit should happen even though this can crush my life. And it could help me reach certain goals in life by giving up on some others.

Bread sounds like me getting united with the roots, at least a bit, but then I'm supplied by Amazon and a couple other big stores. But then I bake a couple loaves extra and give them to my neighbours to break the ice. It's my hobby, mental safety valve, pretty much part of me. If anyone sees it as a bad thing, they need to sort it out, not my. And it's the same with you and others around you.

Thank you for sharing such a personal comment... I appreciate it, especially at this time in my life where I too feel a bit in limbo! It's the conflict between knowing in my heart what's right for me, and not being able to make the people I love understand that. They tend to live their lives in a very 'safe' ways, fear-driven, authority-driven, making concrete plans before action. They can't understand why I bothered going to uni if I didn't want a career. They haven't a clue what it means when I say I'm earning a living through the blockchain and instead of trying to find out more, they assume it's something 'wishy-washy' and their stable jobs are a superior and 'right' way of earning income! Just for example. They thought I was selfish for going away to Gozo to get married and not invite family or friends (I told them months in advance, but they saw it as like being told about a party and not being invited. We just didn't want a fancy do, we're not those kinds of people, and that's fair enough, right?!) They thought we were crazy for moving from England to Ireland without having a home already in place... even though we found one soon after and had the best 2 years ever down in Connemara. Why does it matter so much, that's what I don't get? As long as we're all well and happy and safe?

I agree with you wholeheartedly, that we can indeed be wrong even if we can't see it, and that's one of the things that keeps me humble (and you too from the sounds of it) and willing to listen to the viewpoints of loved ones. I love that you give bread to your neighbours, that's wonderful :-) That's what community spirit is all about! I always keep that quote in mind "A heart that gives, gathers" because it really is true. I had neighbours down in Connemara who would come mow our lawn for free and without even asking, because they knew we didn't have a lawnmower! How wonderful!

Oh, I would so much want till live in Connemara!
Maybe one day...

It's a magical place! Though it could do with a few more trees... a little barren :-) We lived in a house on Sky Road in Clifden, what a view we had!

I'm glad at least you had a chance to experience that :)
But this doesn't make me any less jealous!

:-) Well then I hope you get to live in Connemara one day @breadcentric! You definitely woudn't regret it!

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