My Unconventional Life and Why it “Must be Nice”.
My Unconventional Life and Why it “Must be Nice”.
Unconventional life wasn’t the aim.
In high school I remember the girls talking about how life was going to pan out. They would graduate and go in to a dream career. Meanwhile they would fall madly in love and marry Mr Right. Then they would have at least a hockey starting line’s worth of kids. And of course, live happily ever after. In a big house, complete with a dog and picket fence. Most of them, by all accounts, did just that. And it’s awesome.
That, however, was not what my life’s path.
Right now, typing away in a trendy little local cafe, I can smile at the thought of how life turned out exactly as it should have. This moment, right now, is the best I’ve ever felt about myself, life and life’s trajectory. It is an authentic life. And a damn good place to be. Sigh, I digress.
Alright, here we go.
The Unconventional Path
Life’s path went a little something like this…first I was an art and dance class loving kid who then joined the military much to everyone’s surprise and did all-the-things-that-would-make-most-envious. Followed by abruptly releasing at the height of my career, selling all my shit and taking off to Southeast Asia for a few months of ‘eat, pray, love‘ life.
A reality check kicked in and life as an IT consultant began. Hello world of being an entrepreneur. And since that wasn’t enough to fill the soul, two new paths emerged. The first was this blog filled with #wellnessandwilderness and the second was completing a bachelor of science in nursing.
And here we are.
It seems to leave a lot of people perplexed and with amazingly scrunched eyebrows.
The Unconventional Life
What is an unconventional life really? In short, it’s succeeding on your own terms.
It’s the template for millennial life, yet somehow I’m right there with them. It is the ability to let go of what old society deemed “what’s right” for life’s trajectory and carving more authentic path for self.
My own path not only causes confusion, but seems to makes people uncomfortable as well. <shrugs shoulders> I don’t know why. What I do know, it that their reactions often leave me perplexed.
A lot of assumptions are made by friends, family, co-workers, and social media connections like:
- “but you’ve never deployed or anything”
- “when are you leaving IT consulting to nurse full time?”
- “but you never liked the IT world anyways, come on”
- “well you never wanted to marry anyways”
- “it’s not like you wanted kids”
Ok, full stop. All false. Very VERY false.
And la-creme-de-la-creme are all the “must be nice” comments. Like is must be nice to…
- “make your own work hours”
- “be single and free”
- “be able to take so many vacations”
- “have time to write”
- “be able to retire early”
- “to be able to afford…”
- “have so much free time”
- “Must be nice to…
The sass in me wants to reply with go check yo self son, because your ugliness is starting to show. But that’s too sassy. And not very empathetic.
Instead, it’s more like…
Yes, yes it is nice.
It is nice to have 20 years of professional experience behind me. It’s nice to be respected and for the most part, make my own hours. Oh so nice that I worked my keester off in the army, deployed four times, experienced trauma, and am still sane. It’s nice that I tried out for all the opportunities and failed out of many. It’s nice that I had boat loads of life experience shape my coping mechanisms. Nice to be humble enough to take the shitty jobs when I’ve needed to.
It’s nice to fill my spare time with loved ones and experiences when i don’t have a family of my own. A million times nice to have had supported friends and family and to have their support in return. It’s nice that I had just enough grit to get through working full time and university full time. Even though my health took a hella decent hit.
It’s nice to be financially savvy and a smart spender so that I can afford vacations and early retirement without worry. Nice to read all-the-finance blogs under the sun and still make some epic wrong decisions. It’s nice that some financial risks worked out. It’s nice to spend my evenings writing new posts to make extra money even though I’d rather sleep. And to drive vehicles until literally fall apart. It’s nice to wear 10$ shirts and 5$ shoes to work.
It’s nice that I consciously allow values to lead priorities which creates the life I’m living. I am responsible for my own outcome. And you yours.
Overall “must be nice” is right up there with “lucky you”. Both are junk.
And ladies and gentlemen, let them keep that junk for themselves. Don’t you dare take it on or allow it to discredit your efforts.
Why “Must Be Nice” is Ugly
“Must be nice” isn’t at all nice. Well, it’s more like a whack of negativity masquerading as a compliment. Comments like that breed negativity, seem like they come from a place of envy, and are presumptuous as all get out.
Facts About My Unconventional Life
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” ~ Mark Twain
- everything I own fits in a 5×7 storage locker
- never have I ever, bought a tv.
- completely debt free
- minimalist living
- takes two months off a year on average
- went to therapy, owned my shit, worked through shit
- phone is off, completely off, at night
- several amazing international friendships
- often sleeps in the car while traveling
- can speak three languages (french, english, arabic)
- set to be financially independent, mortgage free, and retired within the next 8 years.
- haven’t eating drive thru / fast food in 5+ years
- traveled to over 35 countries
- not afraid of being wrong and course correcting
How You Can Have an Unconventional Life Too
“The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.” -Anna Quindlen
- embrace inclusiveness, uplift others
- learn another language, another culture
- reverse engineer the path to your goals
- take risks and be ok with failure
- do-the-thing that scares you
- be adaptable and look for silver linings
- be true to self above society
- let values lead priorities
- stop saying ‘but’ and start taking action
- be comfortable with being uncomfortable
And above all, don’t live a traditional life if you’re aiming for a non-traditional one. And vice versus if that’s your thing, really.
The common analogy is that you’re not going to follow a marathon diet and training plan if your goal is to win at the next strong man competition.
And it’s a good life, no matter which you choose so long as you are taking the reigns and actually choosing, instead of coasting. Just ask any one of the super savvy, creative, free-spirited, and widely successful millennial that are leading the charge now a days, like Jules Shroeder.
Listen, it’s little disheartening when someone directs either a “must be nice” or a “lucky you” your way. The statement automatically disregards the hard work and choices made that lead to personal and professional successes.
Instead, offer a sincere congratulations. And it you feel a pang in the heart that cries “must be nice” or ‘lucky you”…then perhaps it’s time to reevaluate and realign.
Meanwhile, for those living an unconventional life – keep on marching to the beat of your own drum! It’s a mighty fine tune.