There’s only one way of life and that’s your own
I have often felt that I don’t really fit in. Whether this is true or a neurosis I’m not sure. But I often just feel a little bit on the outer. Travelling as a single, middle-aged bloke is unusual, at least that’s what I’ve found on my world tour of New Zealand. Come to think of it, I haven’t met any other travelling, single, middle-aged blokes at all.
I mean, no-one actually comes right out and says to me ‘single middle-aged bloke travelling eh? Mate that’s a bit unusual’. The thing is, they don’t need to. Before I set off on my trip I was talking to an old friend about that feeling of not really ‘belonging’. He said that if you don’t live your life like the majority of people, then society will continually try to bring you in from the wilderness and back into the mainstream. I reckon he’s right. It can be overt or covert, but the pressure is there.
For example, bureaucracies – government departments, banks, medical clinics – often require you to have an address. ‘I don’t have an address. I’m moving around.’ ‘Oh I’m sorry we can’t help if you don’t have an address.’ Of course you can’t. When booking accommodation online, the default ‘number of adults’ staying is always two. If I turn up without a reservation, it’s always ‘Just you staying?’ Yes, just me. Conversing with people I meet, the same questions always come up. ‘You got kids?’ No, no kids. ‘So you travelling with the missus?’ No. ‘You got your old job to go back to in Aus?’. No. ‘How long have you got for your trip? No fixed time? Really?’ Yes, really. ‘What part of Aus are you from?’ Well I’ve lived in a few places… ‘Got stuck here with Corona did you? Can’t you get a flight home?’ I probably could get a flight ‘home’ but to where? And to what? Constant reminders that I’m not playing the game.
If I wasn’t enduring a midlife crisis I would cope better with the bureaucratic frustrations. I would probably answer all the usual questions with barely a second thought. However when things aren’t tracking so well it’s a different story. You start to wonder whether choosing a life that’s different from the majority of people has lead you down the freeway exit to Midlife Crisis Town. When your confidence is down, and society tries to guide you back to the fold, it leaves you questioning your decisions and actions. Look, it’s not as if I’ve devoted my life to an obscure deity, spending my days living on a tree-top platform stark naked. However I’m different enough to be aware of the nudging from society to get ‘back on track’.
I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to make my own decisions that have lead me to this point. I haven’t grown up in poverty, had a civil war to contend with, been subject to an horrific crime, or had ‘fate’ serve me up a super-sized slice of shit pie. My choices and decisions got me here, and they will lead my Odyssey onwards. Regardless of what other people do, there’s only one way of life, and that’s your own. For better or worse.
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6 thoughts on “There’s only one way of life and that’s your own”
Living differently can make you stand out in the crowd, for sure. And there are inconveniences. Some people question other people’s life decisions because they’re actually a little bit envious and be wondering about their own life decisions. Own your decisions! Be proud of what you’re doing! After all, you’re facing the crisis and moving forward!
Yeah it’s having the confidence to own your decisions that is tough at times…but yes I’m moving, not always forward, but moving nonetheless!
What did the famous footy coach once say…dont think, do!…sometimes just doing is good. Most of us probably do stuff to stop being bored, and to be purposeful in life, do stuff that makes a difference to someone elses life or the planet, the planet actually needs you bro, little or big achievements in life add up. Another coach once said …dont be where the ball aint! You got to be in the play to make a difference.
Many a wise word has been said in the three quarter time huddle. Many a swear word too come to think of it. And you’re right – just doing is good
Thank you for writing this reflection. I’ve only just recently realised that my life is my own and does not need to be lived how everyone expects it to be. It hard but empowering and peaceful to truely own your choices.
Hi Brooke, glad you found something your could relate to in the post!