I thought I just go sing your praises. : )
What do I even mean with non-normative people?
Well, there are certain expectations of how we are supposed to live our lives. We are supposed to go to school, then find a career, then get married and have children and then we should retire and die without much of a fuss. The events that happen at the predicted times are normative events. A majority of people follows along the lines. They are expected.
A non-normative event would be, for example a child dying, a grandma going back to college in her 90s, or a 10-year-old buying a house.
Other non-normative events are being still single in your 30s, not having made a career choice in your late 20s or 30s, and not having children by the time you are 35. Those binding events are expected to happen in early adulthood and the poor people who happen to not follow that pattern never hear the end of it.
There is tremendous pressure from the outside world to follow along the path that everyone else is on. And because of the constant reminders from the outside, many non-normative people have that pressure already internalized and feel like there is something missing in their lives. Even when, on closer inspection, they know that the life they are living is better suited for them.
So, to all you guys, I say: “Stop listening to the ‘you have to’, ‘everybody does’ and when I was your age, I already’ BS.”
Life is hard enough as it is. There is no need to add unfounded expectations to it.
Most of the people I know, who don’t lead normative lives, have many good reasons to do so:
Maybe they didn’t find a life partner yet, because they were too busy, focussing on their own, big dreams?
Maybe they didn’t marry yet, because they are not allowed to marry the one who they really love?
Maybe they haven’t made a career choice yet, because they had to work through a whole lot of childhood drama and mental obstacles that other people didn’t have to face?
Maybe they rather think things through, instead of jumping off the cliff because everybody else does?
Also, most of the non-normative people I know are exceedingly creative and intense.
I think, whether you follow, more or less, closely the outline of a normative life, or you decidedly don’t, there will always be the feeling of missing out. There is always guilt.
So, if you married early and are happy, go enjoy it.If you are not married at all and like to be on your own, enjoy that as well.
If you have kids, cherish them! If you don’t have kids, don’t think you need to have kids, because all your friends do. There are over 7 Billion people on the planet already.
If you have made a career choice and you like it, congratulations! If you haven’t made it yet, welcome to the ever changing world. Your career might not exist yet, but as soon as it does, you can pick it right up and aren’t stuck somewhere else.
Of course, if you do not have certain things, or people in your life and you long for them, that is a different story. I think that you can work for what you want and you can try to change things that are in your control. You can’t force things that are not in your control. But thankfully things like love, which you can’t force, also do not have an expiration date.
Everybody strives to accomplish something in their lives (even if it is the title of most exhaustive hammock napper). It is totally okay to go for the things you want and not worry about the things you don’t want. It is okay to be non-normative.
Just don’t do things, because everybody else does.