What is normal?
What is normal? Every day people all over the world wake up and do things that make them unhappy. Really, really, unhappy! Is this normal?
Over the course of living abroad for 5 years, I have often been asked when I was going to start my ‘real life’ and settle down. This question has always confused me because what makes life ‘real’? The question these people are actually asking is ‘when are you going to fit into society’s box?’ When are you going to do what everyone else expects and wants you to do?
These people have forgotten one extremely important fact about life. It ends. People wake up every day and do things that make them unhappy because there is a promise that is drilled into their heads from day one. This promise is ‘if you work hard and save money, you can retire to a beach/golf course/pick your potion’. This is normal. Work 45 years doing something that you might not like and in return you will be granted 15-20 years for yourself (when you are old and no longer productive). You can travel or play golf or lie on a beach that is your time to be happy.
The problem is this model is absurd and everyone knows it, which is why people love and hate individuals that live outside of the ‘normal’ or ‘real’ life. But also, why they want to force everyone to follow the absurd model. Have you ever been waiting in line and someone cuts? It drives you crazy, right? Its annoying and we all hate it. The truth is everyone that is following society’s model is waiting in line for happiness, they have been told that if they wait long enough and complete tasks while in line, they will be granted happiness.
People that are nomadic travelers are not waiting in line and they are enjoying life now because they know you only get one life and to waste it building someone else’s dreams and happiness is crazy. These nomadic travelers have cut the line and not everyone can handle it. Some admire them and think ‘If only I had the – insert excuse: (time, money, courage, etc.)’ and other people hate it because it forces them to look at their own life and their own happiness. They will say ‘Its not possible you have to be – insert excuse: (rich, willing to go into debt, crazy, privileged, etc.).’
The truth is we all make choices. These choices are based on our prescription of our own reality. People that want to travel, find ways to travel. People that want to save money, find ways to save money. People that want to learn a new language, find ways to learn a new language. We all make choices and the only one stopping you from doing something you want to do, is you!
I moved to China with less than $2,500 in my bank account. The truth is I wanted to travel and I found a way to travel. I took a teaching job and moved to China. The flight cost about $1,200 and when I arrived in China, I had about $1,300 to my name. We make excuses because we are scared to fail. What happens if I try and fail?
The reason we follow society’s model is because it is ‘tried and true’, society protects this model because it makes productive workers. We don’t focus on the millions of people that are struggling everyday to make ‘ends meet,’ but we are happy to pride a person around that fails if they failed outside of the normal model. The model is designed to keep order and to keep you slaved to your desk because all other alternatives are too risky.
Be Different live a life of adventure and travel
How can you be different? How can you live the life of adventure and travel? There is too much risk, right? Well, in the past, there was no way to validate alternative models but now with the rise of the internet, it is becoming clear that alternative models exist and people like Nomadic Matt and The Blonde Abroad are showing others how life can be full of adventure. Some of us are willing to take the risk and learn how to live a more fulfilled life. The only ‘real’ question left is are you willing to ditch your unhappy desk job and live your life or is it too risky and maybe next year you will ask for 2 weeks off, ‘if the timing is right’.