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Choosing a Non-traditional Lifestyle

Since 2011, I have had mostly non-traditional jobs (almost all of which were part-time) or I’ve been self-employed.  During this time I’ve also traveled a lot, however mostly it’s been to and from one of my homes out west and Pennsylvania, where I either visited my family and friends or cared for my ailing parents. (To clarify, I’ve lived in quite a few homes over the last couple decades, but I haven’t owned any of them and I certainly never had more than one residence at a time!)

I would say that people have fallen into two camps with regard to my lifestyle.  They either envy the adventure of it, or they judge me for not being more “normal”–i.e., not having a “regular” 9-5 job with benefits and/or not being married and with children.

I found out today that someone who I thought liked me actually reportedly had quite a few judgments about my lifestyle.  I’m guessing there are other family members and friends who may have similar judgments.  I remain unapologetic.  I enjoy my freedom and I was especially glad I’d been available to spend quality time with my parents during their last months.

We are all different. Some of us like a great deal of structure.  Some of us like working for other people so that we don’t have too much responsibility and we don’t have to make big decisions.  Others of us like to be the boss.  And some of us like to be our own boss, set our own hours, and follow our own creative urges.   Some of us are very disciplined and some of us are rather daydream-y.  We are definitely not a one-size-fits-all people.

I had a couple of roommates in my lifetime who loved astrology.  I never really got it at the time.  But now I’m finally beginning to understand that some of us are very grounded and stable (earth signs), some of us are very fiery, some of us are very mental (air signs), and some of us are very emotional or dreamy (water signs.)   I happen to be almost all fire and water.  I have a lot of passion and initiative, and I have a lot of emotion and creativity.  I am well suited for being self-employed because I can change direction according to whichever projects are most calling to me at any given point in time.  It was very difficult for me to follow someone else’s direction when I had my own ideas and plans.

I remember once reading about an artist who had this incredibly large and well-stocked studio added onto her home. She had several stations set up according to whichever craft she was interested in on any given day.  She had a section with bolts of fabric, a sewing machine, yarn, and buttons galore.  She had another section with all kinds of beautiful paper.  There was a section with a huge assortment of ink pads and stamps.  There was an area with paints, paintbrushes, and canvas.

I was so envious.

One of my gifts is writing.  And while I concede I do spend entirely too much time on Facebook, oftentimes in between bouts of it, I am writing.  I am not one of those focused writers who sits at a computer banging out a book for hours on end.  Instead I do my morning routine, procrastinate for a while, write for a while, then I might cook or walk or do errands or make a few moves in my online Scrabble games, and then I’ll write some more.  It’s just my style.  I estimate that over the course of the last 15-20 years, even though I’m not consistently productive, I estimate I’ve written at least a million words–significantly more if you count journals and letters.  These words appear in scholastic papers, stories,  blogs, articles, essays, theses, books and books-in-process.  One day these various projects will be completed or coalesced or published before a wider audience.  One day I may even make some decent money from my writing.  At that point I’m sure I’ll finally be forgiven for my non-traditional lifestyle.

Meanwhile, if you’re not happy with your structure lifestyle, consider joining me!  The rat race/dog-eat-dog/40+ hours per week work world is not all it’s cracked up to be.

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