Do you prefer chaos to comfort and conformity? Ditch convention and embrace your inner weird.
By Peter Hoare
Lately I’ve been dealing with a recurring and rather crippling case of insomnia. I’ll tirelessly roll around in my bed, switching positions and pillow arrangements, increasingly conscious of both my need for sleep and also the fact that it simply ain’t coming anytime soon. In my never-ending quest for slumber, I’ve started reading more. When I was a daily commuter I’d plow through books twice a week on the Long Island Railroad, but now that I work from home, I read less and watch reruns ofFresh Prince more. Uncle Phil throwing Jazz out of the house is hilarious. What are you gonna do? Anyway, while gallantly attempting to tire my eyes just now, I read a sentence that stuck with me. In fact, I thought about it so much so that I broke rule #1 in any insomniac’s handbook — I opened my computer. Yes, here I sit, at 3AM, typing away like a moron.
The sentence in question that forced me to sit down and write this article?
“Are you weird? Think about that for a second. Because some people, well, some people just are.”
Identifying and embracing your flaws is step one in being comfortable in your own skin, something that I’d like to think I am. And as such, I can safely say that, yes, I am weird. I simply am. Speaking honestly, I profoundly embody all aspects of that word, vague and unquantifiable as they may be. Anyone who knows me on a personal level would likely instantaneously agree. The older I get, the more blatantly obvious that fact becomes.
The author posed the question in regards to growing up, to settling into adulthood in a traditional sense. And when that particular point became clear to me, I became even weirder. See, the majority of those I grew up with are on one side of a metaphorical fence, and on the other, there I stand, using an entirely different definition of the word “responsibility,” laughing at something entirely inappropriate, saying and doing something bizarre, a weirdo being a weirdo.
What about you? In that sense, are you weird? Have you slowly morphed into a proper adult? Or do you often find yourself on my side of the fence? Think about that for a second. Because I tend to agree with this author. When it comes to growing up and settling down, some people, well, some people are just weird.
If so, is that a bad thing?
I’d like to think not, but then again, perhaps in saying so I’m trying to justify a life that’s neither stable nor conventional. See, I’m 33-years-old, unmarried, childless and work as a freelance writer, therefore I don’t have a traditional source of income. Thinking I’ll always be able to charm a financier into giving me money to write my wrongs would be both brash and ignorant. I hope that happens. It’s a possibility, sure. But I’m also a realist. The well often runs dry in this world. Truth be told, as I write this I have zero clue where I’ll even be living this time next year. I could be anywhere. Hell, for all I know this summer I may wind up with a wife and a house. But then again, the writing jobs could also disappear, rendering me just south of destitute, something that, call me crazy, I don’t think most women in their 30s find all that sexy.
Oddly, I enjoy that roll of the dice. I’ve always been comfortable with chaos.
And that, unto itself, is probably kind of weird, a sentence written by a maladjusted adult.
Truthfully, I strangely love when I don’t know what’s next. Monotony scares the sh*t out of me. That’s one of those aforementioned character flaws that I’ve come to embrace. Perhaps I’m not mature enough to see my backwards definition of monotony for what it in most cases actually is — comfortability. The wife, the kids, the suburban home, the newspaper in the morning and the home-cooked dinner at night: I do realize the level of veritable joy that brings most people. I’m no dummy.
That’s literally the American dream. And while the majority of those reading this have either already settled into the regularity of traditional adulthood or aspire to do so in the future, that’s not everyone.
Don’t forget us weirdos.
Everyone has a different endgame; we don’t all operate at the same pace. Never do something in life because a certain age or societal norm dictates you do so. Answer to yourself, not historical convention. To some, The Brady Bunch is a dream, to others a goddamn nightmare.
As the kids say, don’t get it twisted, motherf**ker. I’m not writing this to knock marriage, parenthood, growing up, responsibility and the more traditional definition of the pursuit of happiness. I’d be an imbecile to do so. That time-honored model has been the archetype that happiness has been based on for centuries. I get it. I understand it. I respect it. I do. By me writing this, I’m not trying to put a chink in that armor. Instead, while genuinely respecting that, at the same time I’d like to urge those of you who, like me, are weird, to stand up and identify yourselves with pride.
You’re doing things a little different? Your life goals are just a little askew? So what. Are you happy? What’s that, you say? A big ol’ yes? Rad! Let your freak flag fly, Holmes. Maybe you’ll relax and become a more “regular” adult at some point in the future.
If so, fantastic.
If not, fantastic.
The world needs all kinds. Much like Batman needed the Joker, stability needs mayhem, consistency needs adventure, calm needs crazy and normal needs weird. If my tired eyes were reading this chapter in question correctly, I believe the point was that everyone should just grow the hell up, quit resisting the inevitable. Which is why I felt the need to grab my computer and write this.
I disagree wholeheartedly.
The only true inevitability in life is death. And before I wind up on the wrong side of the grass, I actively and vigilantly aspire to enjoy myself to the utmost of my abilities, and to judge that enjoyment on my own personal scale, just as everyone else reading this should also do. And if doing so for you means to sit on your couch and read your kids a bedtime story, then that’s completely amazing. Do that. Do that as often as you possibly can. But then again, if you enjoy rolling the dice, setting fire to the map and shaking s**t up, well, yes, you are the minority in the grand scheme of things. And, yes, you might also be weird.
But that’s not a bad thing.