Acceptable patterns. They reside in everything in life. In work. In travel. In dating.
Life should go a little something like this: Go to college, meet someone in college, date for 2-4 years, graduate, start a job, get married, buy a house, have kids, work, vacation for a week once a year.
Work. Use your degree to start a job immediately out of college. Find a career that you love and gives your life meaning. Work 40 hours a week. Save for retirement.
Dating. Take your time. Find someone acceptable. Assess compatibility. Assess potential parenting skills and long term outlook. Ensure that this is heading towards marriage. Focus on the fact that it must end in marriage.
Travel. Pick a tourist friendly destination. Save up enough money for a hotel you will spend very little time in. Plan a daily itinerary. Make sure you have enough allotted for daily restaurant lunches and dinners.
Screw all of that. Travel cheap. Stay in a hostel, get out of your comfort zone. Sleep on a beach. Eat fruit the whole week, it’s cheap and healthy. Don’t buy BS you don’t need, take photographs and keep those. Date because you enjoy someones company, without expectations. Rent if you aren’t comfortable buying. Live in an igloo if that’s what feels right to you. Work part time if you want to. Work for a check and find meaning in other things.
I love the lifestyle shift I’ve been seeing lately in blogs and on social media. Couples quitting their 9 to 5’s and moving onto a boat or into an RV. People detailing how they live well working part-time, on less that 30,000 a year with a spouse and children. Being able to spend time together rather than be away all the time. Tiny houses. Using free renewable energy. Unshackling themselves from electricity bills and mortgages. Communal living. Gardening. Redefining how we think of life and going against the grain of acceptability. Making it work for them on their own terms. Freeing time for doing what they love and experiencing more of those moments in life that define it. Not tying themselves to material things, not deciding that a new car, a big TV, and a ridiculous house are what is necessary to be happy or to follow the pattern.
It bothers me to think of the time I have spent trying to live life how I was told I should live life. Then subsequently feeling the pressure of not living freely weigh me down so much that I am unhappy and at odds with myself, tied to a life that society presented to me as the only option. At which point I usually burn my life down and restart. But as I get older I realize it doesn’t have to be that way. If live as I want to live I can avoid the pattern of feeling boxed and constrained.
If the patterns I described above fit you then by all means live that. My whole point in this is to say live what makes you feel fulfilled.
But I am speaking to those that that have always felt disconnected from the pattern. To those that fight their nature to fit it. Those that have attempted, as I have, to shut out that little voice in their head that says this isn’t you until you can hear nothing else because that voice has grown to an outright scream.
You don’t have to follow any pattern because at the end of this life you answer only to yourself. Live freely.