Here’s a question I’ve been asked recently: “what does living unconventionally mean to you Amy?”
It was on Twitter, so I was limited to 120 characters. In short, my answer was:
I think that everyone needs to be true to who they are and what they want out of life, and not to follow a path that is expected of them.
I thought more about this, and wondered whether there might be more to this answer, and whether there might be more definition of living ‘unconventionally’.
Firstly, What’s Unconventional?
Based on or in accordance with what is generally done or believed.
In a way, I don’t like the word ‘conventional’. It talks of what is ‘normal’ and as per definition above, what is ‘generally done or believed’.
Throughout my travels, if there is anything to be learned, that is there is no such thing as what’s generally done or believed, because in every culture, every tradition and even down to every household and every individual, does something differently.
Yes, in general, living conventionally means to follow a social pattern – grow up, get educated, get a job, get married, have children, buy a house, keep working, retire. But as we all know, life doesn’t always follow this pattern, and just because this is the convention where we are from, doesn’t mean it is the convention of everywhere else.
Sometimes, Unconventional Can Become Conventional
About ten years ago, the idea of ‘blogging’ and ‘travel blogging’ were relatively new. I know, because around ten years ago there was no platform for me to simply write a blog, I had to hard code my blog in HTML!
Not to mention, the idea of quitting your job to become a travel blogger (and eventually to find happiness) is something seen as revolutionary.
These days, most people have a blog, and there are just too many of these ‘I quit my job to travel’ stories out there that people are starting to see it as the norm. Just search for ‘travel blog’ and see the number of search results you get, you’ll see what I mean!
Let’s just say, “I am a blogger” no longer raise eye brows.
The emphasis of having to quit one’s job to find happiness has become more of a ‘social pressure’, it is almost like “you can’t possibly be happy unless you quit your job!” But what if you actually like your job? What if a nomadic lifestyle is not for you? Those who stick to what used to be a norm has been seen as failures, so much so that they are rebelling and saying “damn it, I am going to have ten children and own a house because that is what I want!”
So you see, as society changes and as our preferred lifestyle changes, what was unconventional can become conventional.
The bigger problem is being stuck in a job we hate, that makes us unhappy. And when we get unhappy, we don’t do anything about it, that’s most of the problem with life: we refuse to act on our own happiness because we are afraid to risk – but instead of taking that first step, we blame ‘convention’.
So, What’s The Point?
The point is, there is no such thing as ‘unconventional’ lifestyle. What is important however, is that we need to live the way we want to live, do what makes us happy. If it is travel, so be it; if it’s having ten children so you can create your own family football team, then go ahead.
Let’s just say, if someone who absolutely hates to travel, whose life’s ambition is to have the best garden in the world and devotes their life to grooming the hedges, then even if you convince them that they need to quit their gardening job to travel the world, they will not be happy and will probably moan about the entire journey.
We have become so engrossed in trying to ‘fit in’ to the lifestyle everyone else says we need to have that many of us has become unhappy. Which isn’t ideal at all!
Remember, it’s not about keeping up with the trend. It’s about being true to who you are and doing what you are happy with. That trumps anything to do with living unconditionally :)
(I do however, think everyone needs to travel and see the world sometime in their life, for travelling can teach you so much!)
If you are still not convinced about not having to live ‘unconditionally’, here’s another blogger that agrees with me! Read: Marianne Cantwell: Why I Don’t Give A Damn Living Unconditionally