Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth – John F. Kennedy
Where I am today is easily traced back to few decisions I’ve made in my life. Some good, some bad, and some just as a result of succumbing to the pressures of society. It’s hard to really put a finger on where my Idea of “what a man is” comes from, and in the same manner, my ideas of success. I’d imagine that both being a man and successful would be of varying opinion for both those who consider themselves men and successful, respectively. In regards to my ideas about being a man, I’ll have to save that for another post. Today I’d like to focus more on success, or at least aspects of it. In fact, maybe not even success. Maybe just life and how I’ve chosen to live it and where that’s taken me. I don’t know really, I’m just writing. It hasn’t been until recently that I’ve really begun to recognize how much conforming I’ve done in life. Actually the majority of my life has been just that, conforming. Typically, my attempts at not conforming or being rebellious were not because of a fiery spirit within me wanting to do so, but out of ignorance and ultimately leading to trouble (breaking laws) and making up those bad decisions that I spoke about earlier. Either way, I’ve ended up on path that isn’t allowing ultimate satisfaction and higher happiness. And that’s what I’ll assume success is to me; happiness. This may insinuate that I’m currently unhappy, and at times I am, but generally I’m not. I have great people in my life that I love, I’m alive and breathing, frequently in the presence of beautiful women, and surviving tough economic times. Who am I to complain, right? Well complaining isn’t what I’m doing here. Nor is this a “feel sorry for me” session. I’m simply reevaluating. Change is good. For me what needs changing most is the amount of conforming to societal/parental/peer pressures as I do. Until I stop that, nothing will change, I guess.
So in what ways do I feel I’m conforming? Good question. I think in a lot of ways I’ve conformed simply out of not having an alternative. Let me clarify. I don’t think I’ve had a clear alternative route or option for my life that I completely turned my back on or ignored due to pressures. Which is why it probably never really seemed as though conforming is what I was doing. I’ve just been doing the “regular” stuff. Go to school… get pretty good job… Look for a lady… start a family. Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with any of that. But that’s a cycle that I’m beginning to feel trapped in. Incarcerated by an expectation of others to do what I’m apparently supposed to do. That in conjunction to my need to be “free,” so to speak, provides quite the dichotomy. A fine line, or let’s call it a fence, in which one side presents the six figure gig, the house with the nice lawn, and a family. This by the way is attractive to me. But the other side of the fence, wonderland, in which I’m chasing Immortality! Where the goal is doing something great and important, of substance, and meaningful to way more people than those in my immediate circle. But, I have no Idea what that would be. I really want to figure something out though. I do know that it’s not corporate America. Is it too egotistical of me to assume a purpose greater than what my current path is leading me to? Is it possible to have both? I’m sure it is!
Major change doesn’t happen overnight, I suppose it requires planning. So though I’m waiting to make drastic moves I can’t allow those moves to be stupid. In the smaller picture, there’s something within me that requires an expression of my non-conformity. What I’ve come up with as a mean of outward expression of my no longer wanting to conform will be my beard! Yes, my beard. As silly as this sounds I’m serious. It’s the one thing that I’ve wanted to do (grow a long beard) but haven’t because I’ve felt like I shouldn’t. I’ve conformed. I’ve thought more about what the people at the job would think, what women would think, and about what everyone else would think instead of just doing it. Change is also a matter of working outside your comfort zone. I’ve been most comfortable shaved. I know this is a small step to a life of non-conformity, but I’ll allow my big beard (and I mean big) to act as a reminder that I’m transitioning to a path to a higher quality freedom, a life of non-conformity, and attempt at something new.