Living up to the expectations of your colleagues, friends, family, and society is a hard thing to accomplish while you are trying to build a life of your own. A life that is anything but ordinary. We are expected to follow the paths that society has laid out for us regarding love, employment and health but many that are on those laid out paths are held to such high standards, they fall short due to the pressure. Those who follow their own path though, still do not escape the pressure that society puts on us, and many times, trying to justify your life choices to everyone around you, can be more than most can handle.
First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes a baby in a baby carriage. This pre-school rhyme was meant to teach us of the values of love, marriage and children at an early age, in hopes that one day we will follow the “natural order of things” and stay on the path that society deems responsible and right. Many of us in the 21st century though, are breaking ranks and looking at the other choices presented to us regarding love, babies and marriage. Scores of couples are moving in, pre-marriage, to see if the relationship can even last. Many couples are having children without commitment, and having happier, healthier lives. Some couples are even living with their parents, In-Laws, or Grandparents, bringing back the ancient Japanese tradition of ‘Extended Family Living’, in which multiple generations live under one roof to strengthen the family bonds. Even though numerous people are taking their own path in love and marriage, society still looks upon that relationship with concerned eyes, warranting an explanation for the break from “tradition”.
Breaking from the “9-5 Rat Race” and gaining financial freedom by taking control of your employment is a great accomplishment. Many people do this by opening a small business or becoming a business entrepreneur. These days though, many young entrepreneurs are breaking the mold and creating a new type of entrepreneur, the “Side-preneur“. “This Millennial multi-careerism… does not identify with one company or career. They don’t work for IBM, but instead build smart computers…but it underlines that their priorities are on their own skill set, and not on their employer.” (Source: Forbes Magazine). Don’t expect to be welcomed by society with open arms though. Society believes that to make an honest living, you need to sell your soul to a major company for a pension and a 401k, while you work over 40 hours a week to make someone else richer. Even opening a small business can make society look at you a little differently, like you are trying to somehow screw over the big businesses and their work forces. Being a “side-preneur” though, or as I also like to call it a “Business Gypsy”, is the new frontier of business, and society is already asking questions as to how legitimate these “Business Gypsies” really are, making us justify our actions when we know we shouldn’t have to.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Too bad society ignores that rule. We are a culture and society obsessed with healthcare. We have a whole industry dedicated to creating new drugs to help people with the effects of their health problems, along with a health insurance industry that keeps us paying for the “What If’s” in health. Many though, including myself, are taking a holistic approach to medicine and saying no to pharmaceutical drugs to cure what ails us, including using pressure point therapy, acupuncture, herbs, vitamins, minerals and other at home remedies. Most of society believes that the holistic approach to medicine is a bunch of nonsense, and many of them question the motives behind the lack of health care or being covered by health insurance, making us have to explain ourselves once again.
We only have one life and life is too short to be constantly answering the concerned questions that our friends, family and society asks us as to why we love a certain way, work a certain way, and stay healthy in a certain way. Do not waste energy by trying to justify the lifestyle choices that we as individuals make. You only have to answer to one person and that person is you.
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