Here’s the deal.
I grew up in a family where the women cook casseroles that usually feature chili cheese Fritos. The men work with their hands, elbow-deep in cars, or electronics, or newspaper presses. A good chunk of them have never been on an airplane, most have their GED’s instead of high school diplomas, and they’re all married with kids by 23, working dutifully at their jobs that supply decent insurance and a retirement plan.
And each and every one of them is incredibly happy.
And then there’s me. (HI!) The weirdo black sheep who wanted to go to college since the age of five. After getting my high school diploma, I moved away from home to major first in astrophysics, then creative writing because apparently I love Arial Black more than black holes.
On a more personal note? I’ve been with my boyfriend for eight years, and we don’t even live together, let alone don’t have any plans for marriage. And in terms of kids, I’ve spent a lot of money to get a little copper device put in my uterus that means I can’t birth the babies for the next five years, (putting me well past my family’s average age of 23). Also, can I say uterus on the internet?
And we can’t forget about that time I quit my steady job in government finance to work for a hilarious, foul-mouthed genius living in Costa Rica after making a motherloving website to get hired.
AND I AM ALSO INCREDIBLY HAPPY.
Which tells me that the five things I grew up thinking were necessary to general life contentment? Aren’t actually necessary at all. So get ready to FEAST YOUR PEEPERS, because here are:
The 5 things you don’t have to want. Now, or ever.
1) You don’t have to want to get married.
As a twenty-something, each and every wedding I go to finds me cornered awkwardly with my gin and tonic (extra lime), and someone’s aunt waggling their eyebrows around and saying encouragingly, “You’ll be neeeeext,” in that lilting voice that supposed to make me want to jump in the air and squeal with excitement because, goodness, me! One day I’ll have a suitor who will want my hand in marriage!
I’ve decided it’s only fair game to say the same thing at funerals. After they lower the casket, I’m going to look at whatever relative is closest to me, raise my eyebrows, and say in that same sing-song voice,“You’ll be neeeeext.” (Too morbid?)
The bottom line is that you don’t have to get married to have a great relationship. Hell, you don’t have to be in a relationship to be a great person. And ONE MORE STEP: You don’t even have to be a great person to be enthusiastic about living. But, uh, it’s highly recommended to be a decent human being. Y’know. Karma and all that shit.
2) You don’t have to want to pop out all the kids.
Have kids. Don’t have kids. Be responsible for another human being. Or just be responsible for you. Because you aren’t any less successful or accomplished if you don’t have offspring. (Which totally makes me want to listen to this song and dance around in my underwear.) Whether you had them at 18, 25, 30, or never, you can still HAVE A PERFECT LIFE WITHOUT CHILDREN. Despite what your mother-in-law would lead you to believe.
And as for me? I can’t even handle a cat. So.
3) You don’t have to want to buy a house.
Look. My master plan is to have ultimate freedom in my life, being able to travel year-round and rent homes around the globe wherever I want. Sounds ballin’, (shot callin’), am I right? But I’m pretty sure when I mentioned this at my niece’s third birthday party, my grandma dropped her fork and my uncles had to set their Coors Light down because they were laughing so hard. Because not rushing towards home ownership? Is foolish.
Oh, wait. NO, IT ISN’T. Because if you don’t want a house, a mortgage, a binding contract that says you have to live in one place forever and ever (or at least until you sell), then you don’t want a house, a mortgage, and a binding contract. And that’s totally cool.
Yes, I’ve heard that buying a house is a “good investment”. I know I’m “throwing money out the window, because with a house, your mortgage is like paying yourself”. I know it’s “the next logical step”–
And I just don’t effing care. Because I absolutely love Chris, my building maintenance man, and I’m happy just where I am. But thank you for your concern.
4) You don’t have to want to lock in a career.
If you’re in a job that’s fine, that’s fine! Because sometimes there are more important things than spending hours on job boards, pounding the pavement (don’t you hate that phrase?), and interviewing all the time always.
You love your bartending job. Running the front register a book store is perfect for you right now. Being a secretary leaves you enough energy at the end of the day to work on your side hustle.
Whatever the case may be, as long as you like doing what you’re doing, keep doing it.
Unless you’re a prostitute. Because that’s probably illegal.
5) You don’t have to want to do what’s expected.
Look. I gave my family’s convention the middle finger, and not only do they still love me, (even if my Nana did just suggest that I get a job as a typist and work my way up,) but I LOVE MYSELF. And I don’t care how woo-woo hokey that sounds, because it’s the damn dirty truth. Also? I don’t even like chili cheese Fritos.
Just because everyone else wants something, doesn’t mean you have to want it, too. The bottom line is that when you stop doing things because you feel like you should want to do them, and just start doing what you actually want, happiness is inevitable.
Because all of those supposed tos are slowing you down.
Because you’re letting everyone else live your life for you.
And because, I daresay, you’re pretty fly for a white guy.
What “life rules” are you sick of having shoved down your throat? Talk to me in the comments, because in case you haven’t noticed, we’re all doing juuuuuust fine.