I’ve received a variety of reactions regarding my lifestyle ranging from “Oh wow, I love it” to “Are you out of your mind?” to “Whatever works for you”. Some people think I am living the hippie dream and others think I am in desperate need of some serious mental health services. I won’t pretend that I don’t care what others say. However, my actions typically reflect my own motivation and goals. In other words, just because I don’t enjoy hearing negative comments, doesn’t mean I am going to change my life tomorrow.
A few weeks ago, I received a reaction I couldn’t have anticipated. I was spending the holidays with relatives who live a couple hours north. I was having a great time: frequent excursions to the mountains, game nights with friends, catching up with family, and some lazy days sprinkled in between. During one family gathering, I got talking with my stepmother.
“When are you heading back home?”
“Oh, probably around the 15th”.
“Don’t you have to work or things to do?”
“No, I decided to take a month of.”
Her “hmmm’ was full of contempt and disapproval. Her reaction communicated so much more. How dare you take a month of? Don’t you know that HARD WORK is the only right way? The American way. The principle this country is founded on? Don’t you know how our forefathers… blah blah blah (I’ve heard it all before).
Now, why exactly should I feel bad for other people’s lifestyles? You need a upper-middle class house, new clothes, eating out on a regular basis, 4 kids, and those fancy phones, laptops, tablets, and kindles? Well, then you better get to work! I want to be close to nature and a warmer sleeping bag this year. Oh, and time. Which I can afford.
In addition, roughing it can be just what it sounds like: rough. The constant cold during the winter can wear down anyone. Living without amenities can be frustrating and exhausting. Keeping oneself healthy, fed, and safe can be challenging. So, while I am very pleased with my current life, it is anything but easy.
You have a great life going or are on your way to live life to the fullest? Ignore the negative voices that try to force their opinion on you. Freedom is about making your own choices. Sometimes that means making very unique choices. Be proud of your ability to choose. You don’t have to be another sheep.