When writing this post, I decided to put “typical” in quotes. Really, I think every person in this world is unique in several ways, but it is the case that large groups of people do share things in common, making them sort of “typical”. Of course I, too, share many things in common with the majority, but I thought I’d make a bit of a list of how I feel I’m different than most.
The differences I list below are ones I have by choice. In some cases my choices have been influenced by my upbringing and/or circumstances, but others not at all. I only list differences for which I have respect or understanding for opposing choices/views. I hope any readers will feel the same way about my choices.
- An “au natural” woman – None of the women in my family ever wore much make up or had a particular obsession with fashion, except perhaps a little bit on special occasions. I neither have the talent nor the desire to paint my face elaborately or be a fashion plate. Though I do think many women who do, look nice, I’ve always been happy as I am. I suppose there are some men who prefer such women over the more “au natural” type, but I’ve found plenty who like me as I come. Even when it comes to body weight, I’ve been mostly happy with myself. Or at least I don’t obsess over being waif thin. My highest priority is to be relatively healthy. I think that is the primary motivator when I wish to drop some pounds. I do like when I am slim, but am pretty generous with what “slim” is.
- Always danced to the beat of my own drum – From early age, I never considered myself a “follower”. A lot of my interests were atypical. I sucked at and never watched sports, I rarely cared about fashion, wasn’t always into the latest music or fads, my opinions were often not the norm. As a kid, I was even a bit of a tom boy. I didn’t always heed warnings that might have stopped me from exploring “the road less traveled”, that Robert Frost wrote about. Being a loner in that respect certainly isolated me at times, and at times I suffered consequences, but I made my own decisions. Conform, fit in, and/or hold back? Or follow my own path?
As I look back at my life, I have very few regrets about the choices I made, even the bad or unpopular ones. I have learned to admit when I was wrong or did wrong. Mistakes bring about a great learning experience, and make needed apologies more sincere. Rather than beat myself up for too long, I try to congratulate myself for having the open mind to see things differently (and better) eventually. I see all the choices that I made as contributing to who I am now, and my ultimate fate. I’m far from being perfect. I’ll never be perfect! But that’s OK.
- Simplicity – In an earlier post, I wrote about Henry David Thoreau and his famous line “Simplify, simplify”. That’s usually always been my motto. I’ve always been happy in a small house, with a reliable but basic car. I don’t have a huge wardrobe, I’ve always had a nice but easy to handle hairstyle. I do my best to keep my life easy to manage…especially nowadays. Recognizing my stressors and doing my best to avoid or limit them helps. Of course I’ve had to make sacrifices, but those I’ve made I don’t really regret, or have made peace with them. After all, simplicity is not always deprivation, especially if you know how to derive pleasure from the seemingly small and yet still big reward things.
- I don’t hold grudges and try not to allow myself to hate – I never really recall being a grudge holder. I always felt it hurt me more in the end. That’s not to say that I stayed for any abuse, though. There have been painful times that made me wary of certain things and people. Perhaps even to this day I confess to some avoidance. I guess I am like many others in occasionally feeling “Why me?” or “They/that is so abominable!” But at a point along the lines, I’ve learned to accept my own limitations and faults, and by doing so, learned to have mercy on others’. As a woman with a serious mental illness, I could feel justified at being angry, resentful, and feeling sorry for myself, but instead, I’ve eventually learned that that also does me no good. It’s been an incredible learning experience. One that only people who’ve had the greatest challenges in life really have.
Do you feel you’ve been more of a conformist throughout your life? How do you feel about the choices you’ve made that were atypical?