Yesterday was my birthday. A significant number of years spent on earth. A lot of memories, a lot of experiences.
If you know any of my relatives, they will tell you that at my age they had had all their children. They will also tell you that what I am doing with my life is wasting it away. Also, since I don’t seem fit into any box of theirs, I will be solely responsible for the end of the world as we know it.
It is true I don’t act my age. Around me, there are my friends and classmates who are far more ‘adult’ than I am. I have wondered if there is something wrong with me. Then, I realized it is only that my priorities haven’t changed much since when I was three years old or so. What I want from life, what I expect from people, my wants, and needs, my priorities, they are still the same.
I don’t mean to say they haven’t changed at all. Sure, I used to read children’s books, now my reading list is far more evolved. It is the same with everything. They are an evolved version of what I wanted when I was a child. And that is why I am who I am.
What did I want as a child? Food, Shelter, Books, etc. I also wanted love, like the unconditional love I had for those around me. I wanted to learn. I wanted people to be honest because that’s what they were telling me to be. These were some of the things that I wanted. These are still some of the things I still want. (A house, a car, IRAs, these are all material things, that I figure everyone plans for. Let’s not talk about that.) I want people who are honest, people who are not bigots, around me.This is why they think I don’t act my age.
Who actually decides that my requirements or choices in life are wrong? What is the standard of measure that they use? Or is that particular standard unfailingly accurate every time?
Society has a long checklist. It is the same for everyone. Every time a person is born, a new checklist is generated. Like a birth certificate, it is a template. As you grow older, you are going to have to check things off of the checklist.
Baby rolls over at certain age – ☑. Baby starts walking at this age – ☑. The child goes to school at this age – ☑. The child gets an ‘A’ in school – ☑. A child plays an instrument/sport – ☑. And on and on and on. Then comes college, post-graduation, employment, marriage, and the cycle repeats itself with the next generation.
I understand that this can be a good thing. Send your kids to school, and college; let them learn a new language; play a sport and develop a camaraderie; let them start living. But why do we put a standard on any of it? If you send your child to School A instead of School B, why is it looked down upon? If your child plays hockey instead of cricket, is it a bad thing?
None of this matters. We have become a society of people who have started to resemble sheep. One starts bleating and the others follow. We have stopped being individuals. All thanks to this checklist mentality.
Look around yourself. People all around us. We grow up consuming the Earth’s resources. Yet, do we give anything back? We are a result of the efforts that our parents and teachers put in. Do you still talk to your teachers? Do you give the same lessons about life to the kids around you?
Once a person decides to follow his or her own mind and start a small vegetable garden in their apartment, the neighbours complain – leaves are shedding, you are wasting space, time, and water. Yet those who complain don’t mind paying for those vegetables when they are conveniently packaged. But this person who has deviated will now be labelled for his life as a misfit. This misfit has taken time out of his day to tend to his garden, while the others can’t seem to find any spare time. The misfit will also be far less stressed and a lot happier.
I am a misfit. I had a vegetable garden, which thanks to the lack of water has now died. I teach kids, I enjoy it, and it provides pocket money. I study, though people mostly wonder why because you are supposed to stop once you earn a post-graduation. I work independently, because, one needs to have a source of income. I read because I learn new things. I write because I can.
All this and more makes me a misfit. This makes me very un-sheep-like. I think it is better to be a lone tigress with bold stripes than one of the herd.
If you want to do something, do it! (Just don’t cause harm to any other living thing.) No one is stopping you from being yourself. People can keep their checklists, while you can keep your happiness. Live your life like you want to.
If you have noticed while society has a checklist for this kind of thing, it never has a checklist for the important stuff. (Like, does a person treat his fellow humans with respect? Is a person considerate of his neighbours? Who checks when someone is rude to his fellow passengers?) Society’s checklist is rather flawed. And therefore, it doesn’t matter.
You have a choice – to be a sheep, part of the big herd Or to be a Tigress.
Be the Tigress/Tiger!