“The unconventional lifestyle is never going to be one of simplicity”
BY LOUISA BENNETT, IMAGE VIA ISTOCK
Whether you have been waving your own beautiful brand of quirkiness round for years, or you’re tentatively starting to explore your own path, the unconventional lifestyle is never going to be one of simplicity. *Spoiler alert* it’s going to be complicated and messy. You are going to make mistakes, get yourself into situations that you really should have avoided and sometimes regret the words that come out of your mouth. And all of these things are going to make you want to jump into a hole, cover yourself with quick dry concrete and never be noticed again.
So, I’ve written a piece dedicated to telling you that messy is ok. It truly is. We are ever growing, ever changing, complicated human beings. Who wants to be stuck in a life where they are afraid to try something new or be true to themselves in case they – shock horror – dare to make a mistake? Show me the human being who is perfect, and I will show you the human who lives a life so rigid and is on a path so narrow, that they never grow and evolve.
Perfection is overrated and overvalued. It’s like taking a pilgrimage to a sacred place that dissolves as soon as we get there. The search for perfection forgets some very key characteristics of life: we change; other people change; the world changes and funnily enough… this idea of perfection that we aim for rarely allows for the luxury of change. As harsh as it may seem – perfection equals pressure and the best antidote to this poisonous equation lies in accepting yourself as quirky old you and allowing yourself to make mistakes. You truly will give yourself so much more freedom.
This is where you also have to be your own best friend. I have met so many people who can be the most non-judgemental and accepting person to other people, but still judge themselves in the manner of the harshest critic ever. Elizabeth Gilbert sums this up in one ridiculously quotable line in her book Big Magic: “Embrace the glorious mess that you are”. I absolutely love the idea that the messiness of simply being yourself can be glorious because in life we are so often told the very opposite.
I spent many years wondering how I could simplify what felt like a wildly messy life. I tried taming my own quirky behaviour, keeping my mouth shut about things that I really wanted to speak out about (known as the ‘think it but don’t say it years’) and trying my absolute hardest to live a socially desirable life. I even flirted with minimalism wondering if the lifestyle of a Buddhist monk would bring me the long sought-after simplicity I so desired. *Further spoiler alert* – it didn’t, but I can recommend a very insightful and helpful book on the subject if anyone wants to give it a go.
What did simplify things was the acknowledgement and acceptance that we, as humans, are messy and complicated: we are chaotic and calm. We are good and bad. We succeed and we fail. And all of that, every single dichotomy is ok. Living is about growth and change, so walk your own path, embrace your unconventionality, be brave, make different choices, make your own choices and be freer to be who you are.
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