I’ve always taken pride in doing things differently – I’m left-handed, I hop on my bike when it’s dumping snow, and I have an overwhelming desire to try living in a tiny house. But at the same time, I’ve more or less followed the unwritten life checklist that middle-class North American life has outlined for me: study, get good grades, go to college, get married, have kids (well I haven’t ticked this box yet), and save for a cushy retirement of golf getaways and steak dinners.
My blog is first and foremost about simplicity, and a critical component of simplifying life means doing things differently. The older I get the better I’ve become at questioning the ‘checklist-of-life’ rather than take it at face value. In fact, I try to apply this strategy to every day decisions: Is the doctor prescribing these pills really right? Do I really need meat in my diet to be healthy? Will I be happier owning a nicer car?
Through this critical thinking I’ve realized, maybe I don’t have to buy a house, retire, shower every day, or go to University. I don’t have to do anything, really, as long as I ask myself “what if instead….” and think critically about the options available that fit my life goals. As a bonus, it feels like I’m stickin’ it to the man in every little act of non-conformity.
And so begins what I’m calling the “You Don’t Have to” series, where I look at why we do the things we do, and the reasons that we don’t have to do them. Some initial thoughts on things you don’t have to do:
- Buy a diamond ring
- Focus on one skill
- Have grass lawn
- Spend a lot on groceries
- Get good grades
- Be busy all the time
- Spend a lot on travel
- Have a financial manager
- Follow fashion trends
- …and others as they pop in my head!
In my lofty dreams of blog writing success, I think this could make a cool little e-book. But for now, it will simply keep me busy for several weeks 🙂