Living Unconventionally Comes at a Cost
Authors, travel writers, singers, actors and other creatives living unconventionally: I understand you.
I noticed I was living unconventionally when I turned 17 and got my first job. I was a news anchor at a local TV station in my hometown in Poland and was earning a nice salary. To this day I can say that this was probably the best job I had ever had but back then my joy was overshadowed by the fact that I felt different. My classmates’ first jobs were bagging groceries or flipping burgers so being a journalist felt like an outcast.
I felt I constantly had to downplay how great being a journalist was. I was meeting many people, getting freebies, being invited to press events but the gap between my friends and I kept widening being fed by my TV adventure. It was as if my unconventional job was exposing me to a different language, which I was soaking in but which was only echoed by the walls of the TV studio. Noone understood me. It was all glamorous and yet I had nobody to share it with.
Over the years my life has got even more infused with unconventional opinions, experiences, careers and lifestyle. The fact that I don’t want to grow my business is one of the examples.
Skipping over a few chapters, I now live in Hawaii, own a business and I’m an author. As I’m writing this, I’m considering erasing “Hawaii” or maybe “own a business” or “author.” The discomfort tied to living my unconventional life sets in and fear of sounding arrogant makes me want to reframe, omit or just not share. Or at least add that it all has its drawbacks too. Living unconventionally comes with its territory and here is what you may feel:
- You are a misfit. As glamorous as your lifestyle sounds, if you’re a travel writer taking off months at a time, a singer who gets to tour the world doing what you love or a business owner who works a few days a week remotely, there are going to be times when you’ll feel you can’t relate to anyone, which may lead to feeling inadequate.
- You have no right to complain. When you have a bad day, you may get shut down with a sarcastic comment reminding you that your unconventional life is so great that you don’t have the right to feel off.
- You have to downplay reality. You find yourself constantly talking about the downsides of your lifestyle explaining that it’s not that great.
- You focus on dissatisfaction. Being not understood can make you feel dissatisfied and not being able to fully enjoy your unconventional lifestyle.
- You feel alone. Not being able to fully share your life because you have to downplay it, being shut down and just not being on the same wavelength can make you feel lonely.
- You feel not heard. The stories you share may be so different from your peers’ that they may be perceived as too weird to tune in.
Living unconventionally comes at a cost. By being aware of it, we can start building our unconventional shield. Understanding that unconventional life gets unconventional reactions will make us forego striving for understanding, acceptance and approval and… live.
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