To Conform or Not To Conform

One of my friends read my post Don't Be You where I talk about conformity. He messaged me later saying that he felt good about conforming to societal norms.

The bratty little boy within me rolled his eyes and said, "Of course you do." He tends to be afraid of rocking the boat.

Then my grown enlightened self, dressed in a nice sun dress—don't ask, reminded me that I'm not a rebel. And she was right. I stop at stop lights. I don't go around beating people up. I open da door for da ladies. I work so I don't have to steal food.

There are moments where I'll follow the rules because it's advantageous for me. Like stepping on the brakes when seeing a red light helps prevent other cars from colliding into me. But a lot of times I tell it like it is, even if it hurts, because I feel it's the right thing to do.

When I hired my writing coach, she told it like it was, like a cold machete shredding my pages. Did it hurt? Hell yeah. And that's perfectly fine because I learned so much. She was never discouraging, however.

Living your life, ignoring what society tells you what you should do, is something I always preach. In other words Be You.

I think the divorce rate is so high because so many people get married because they think they should at a certain age. And if you ask people at what age is marriage appropriate, you'll get wildly different answers. Or they'll get married because they've been with this person for this long so why not?

On the flip side, the divorce rates during your grandparents' generation may have been low because it was the norm to stay with your spouses till death parted them. And they could have been better off by breaking their marriages.

I think the worst thing that could happen is if you live a life society, or your parents, has dictated. You may be missing out on a big adventure. Will mistakes happen? For sure. So what? Mistakes can guide you, help you see far enough to make corrections. Imagine a baby trying to walk. They'll fall a thousand times. And they needed to in order to master the art of walking.

I remember learning how to snowboard. Gazing down the bunny slope was like looking down from the top of Mount Everest. I must have fell a hundred times my first day. Now, bunny slopes feel like the shallow end of the pool. Good place to warm up. Not the best place to find excitement. Unless you're having sex there, but that's a different thing.

I've told my boss that I see my job as a job, a means to earn money so I can eat, have a place to call my own, and the freedom to write. You'd think that was a mistake because if there are layoffs, I'd be the first one on the beheading block. Eddard Stark!

But I center my life around writing, spend a lot of my free time working on my novel. I wake up early to go to work so I can get off early. I go to the gym before it gets crowded by the 9-to-5ers. Then I eat and head over to Starbucks and write.

Being a writer is pretty unique. Yes, I'm tooting my own horn. You tend to find a lot of people that want to write or have a book inside them. Not literally, of course. That would hurt and cause indigestion. From that group you find that many have started the process. Then a smaller group may have written a first draft. Then even fewer who have done rewrites and edits. Still fewer are those who hire writing coaches and workshop their books.

And I think that's why we love celebrities. We celebrate their courage to achieve their own dreams. Because living a conventional life of conformity ain't gonna do that for you. I'm not saying you need to live an amazing life by society's definition. But live a life that amazes you.