What is Conventional Life?
In order to define an unconventional person, we should probably clarify first, what a conventional life is.
People who live a conventional life often have a typical 9-5 job, which pays the bills, but they are not really passionate about it. They complain about getting up Monday morning and can’t wait for Friday to come.
These kinds of people usually get married at a young age, have kids, get a house and a nice car. They save up all their money to go on a package holiday once a year.
Everything in their life is fairly organized and planned. It is pretty much what everyone aims to have once they are grown-ups.
At least, these are all things that our society tells us are conventional and desirable.
Not Everybody’s Dream
(Un)fortunately, this is not the right way to live life for everyone.
There are many people out there, who are not happy with such a life and who strive for something different. They don’t feel comfortable with too many routines, don’t need to get married or have kids to feel fulfilled and are not too interested in material possessions.
The problem is, that our society often makes us think that the conventional lifestyle is the right way to live. Everyone who doesn’t comply with the mentioned standards is wrong.
- People who don’t want to work from 9-5 are lazy.
- Everyone who doesn’t want to get married or have kids is odd.
- People who prefer long-term traveling over their own house have lost their way.
People who chose to live an unconventional lifestyle, a life, that differs from what our culture tells us is right, are often judged and criticized.
Go for your Dreams
When seemingly “normal” people all of a sudden decide to stop following everyone else’s dream and finally start chasing their own, they are often confronted with a lack of understanding and disapproval.
For example, the successful 40-something banker, who decides to quit his job and starts to sell homemade cupcakes and pretty pastries as a new income.
Or the homecoming queen, whom everybody expected to be a loving housewife in a gorgeous suburb, but who decides to go for a career in astronautics to be able to fly into space.
Maybe it’s the cute old lady who screws her place in a nursing home and instead starts a band with her girlfriends and travels around the States to sing in pubs.
Or the single dad who wants to focus more on a healthy, plant-base diet, starts gardening to grow his own veggies and fruits, reduces plastic waste in his daily life, and teaches his kids how to live a sustainable life.
What’s wrong with being a nomad?
Most of my friends like the fact that I’m traveling so much and get to see so many great places. But some keep asking me when I’m finally done with it and get a “real job” again and find a place to settle.
But why should this be just a phase? Why should I give up my unconventional life and live the life they are living?
I don’t need a permanent contract, a secure job. I don’t want to be tied down to a location for the rest of my life. In fact, I’m happier with being a freelancer and having all the independence and mobility I want.
My life is surely not always easy. But I love this way of living and I wouldn’t go back to a conventional life for all the money in the world.
Go get your Happiness
As you can see there is nothing wrong with living an unconventional life. It’s just different from what most people do.
Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that people living a conventional life are boring or that they are doing it the wrong way! Not at all!
I wouldn’t want their life, but I don’t judge them. And it should be the same way around. We all enjoy and aspire different things in life. And that’s a good thing. Everyone has exactly one life and we should be able to do with it whatever they want to.
Live and let live. You don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations other than your own.
If you are not happy with your life or parts of it, change it. Even if it’s different from what everyone else is doing. That doesn’t matter.
You will most likely have to leave your comfort zone and you might upset people. Choose a life that challenges you. Stop doing what people say is the right thing, if that doesn’t make you happy.
It takes courage without a doubt.
Ask yourself: Am I happy? Can I continue this way and won’t regret it one day? Or do I have another passion? Something, that would make my life more complete?
If you are not happy with your life, start thinking differently. Think out of the box. Do things the unorthodox way. Don’t accept given rules or standards, question them!
Go for your dreams! Don’t put them in a box in the closet and have a look at them every once in a while. That’s not why you have them. You have to go get them yourself. Nobody is going to do it for you.
If you are happy with a conventional life, that’s great! That’s what life is about. If not, do something about it.
And, of course, please always consider how your choices affect people around you. A lifestyle change is surely easier for an independent single person, than for someone who is married, has kids and needs to take care of parents. In that case, it might be harder. But if you are determined to make it work, you will find a way.
How to Deal with Critics
An unconventional life seems to be completely out of scope for some people. They struggle with the idea of someone actually enjoying a different life then they have. I found that this has a lot to do with how people are raised and what society tells them what is right and wrong.
Often, the reason for criticism comes from a lack of knowledge. So the best thing to do is educate them. Explain the reasons why you have chosen this kind of life, what advantages and also downsides it brings.
If they still can’t understand you, try to put you down or talk you out of it, chances are good that they are simply jealous. They are probably unhappy with their own life but don’t have the courage to step up and follow their dreams. There is not much you can do about it. Don’t let their unhappiness ruin your day. Simply walk away from that kind of negativity.
More Inspiration for an Unconventional Life
Many of you have probably read Tim Ferris’ “The 4-Hour Work Week”. This book has changed the way of thinking of thousands of people. You might not be able to find a way to work only 4 hours a week. But it clearly shows that you don’t need to live a conventional life to be successful or happy or to feel complete. There are so many ideas, so many opportunities out there. Get inspired.
The Art of Non-Conformity is a blog (and a book) by Chris Guillebeau in which he writes about life planning, personal development, and entrepreneurship. He is a genius when it comes to an unconventional lifestyle and manages to travel to more than 25 countries each year. Not too bad.
Rob and Kim from the Jet Set Life taking the lifestyle design to the next level. Their life is about traveling the world, transforming your body and transforming the way of thinking. And they even managed to make money with that. Cool stuff.
Check out this readinglist if you are looking for more inspiration and advice on the digital nomad lifestyle.
Conventional vs. Unconventional Life
I’m going to repeat myself here: There is no right or wrong. Black or white. Don’t try to live an alternative life only because you don’t want to be mainstream. You don’t need to be a rebel or be different.
Everyone should be brave enough to make the most of their own lives. Live on your own terms, be yourself, create your own standards and rules. At the same time, respect other people’s life choices.
In the end, it doesn’t matter how you define your life. What matters is that you are happy with the choices you made and you don’t have any regrets. You don’t have to live the life everyone else is living if that doesn’t make you happy. Even if your ideas and dreams seem to be too crazy to ever come true, don’t let this stop you.
You only have one life. Make it count. One way or another.