July 31, 2015

The Art of Non-Conformity

On Wednesday afternoon I went to my local library after receiving a call that a book I had placed a hold on was ready and waiting for me.  The book is: The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau.  My childhood best friend, Tara, had told me she read the book and it was a life-changer for her.  Admittedly, I didn't run out and grab the book right away.  Though in my defense, Tara had told me about the book while we visited her on our family vacation last month.  It's not as though our library was down the street from us.  And by the time we got home, I had forgotten what the book was.

About a week after we returned home, I was surprised to see that Josh was reading The Art of Non-Conformity on his Kindle.  He said that from what he had read so far, it was actually a really good book.  He told me a little about it and what he had learned so far, and I decided that I would go grab a copy from the library and give it a read.  So here I am, 2 days later, and I have finished the book.

The Art of Non-Conformity is a book about living the life you want to live without the fear of what society, or those you know, think about it.  It challenges you to not live your life the way others do because that is "what you're supposed to do".  The book is about realizing who you want to be, what makes you happy, and going after your dreams and what matters most to you.  The Art of Non-Conformity is about living an unconventional life.  It is about making your way through the world and getting the most out of life.  It's not just about living the best life you can live; it is also about being happy, giving back, and feeling awake on your journey.

I really enjoyed reading about the life that Guillebeau has lived and created for himself.  He has had remarkable experiences, once in a lifetime experiences, experiences that he has chosen to have and made happen while so many of the people around him criticized his choices and the paths he has taken.  Guillebeau decided what he wanted to do with his life and he has done nothing short of obtaining those goals, his dreams.  And he has become very successful walking to the beat of his own drum.

Though I enjoyed reading The Art of Non-Conformity, it wasn't the life-changer of a book for me as it was for Tara.  And it didn't move me as much as it moved Josh.  Actually, I showed my mom the book I was reading and she laughed at me.  She said I was the last person who needed to read a book like this.  She mentioned that I have always been stubborn and that I have been a non-conformist my whole life.  I don't know if that was supposed to be her being funny or serious.  Probably both.

Last night, Josh and I were laying in bed talking about this book.  We talked about some of the different principles that were talked about.  He told me the book had an impact on him because he has always worried about what others thought of him.  So many of his life choices have been made, and largely still are made, based on what others would think, instead of truly following his own desires.  He "kindly" pointed out to me that I am not like that.  I have never been the kind of person who really cares what others think of me.  I have never been one to make my choices based on what others would think or say.  I do think about how my actions will impact those around me (I've got a family, after all) but I find ways to pursue my goals.  I largely live my life the way I want to live it.  And I am happy.

Though after reading this book, I did take another look at my life.  Guillebeau suggests making a life list, and then breaking down that life list into doable parts.  This is something I will definitely be doing.  I also realized that I do have a few major life goals, or dreams, that I still want realized.  At first, I thought that I cannot achieve these dreams at this moment because I have a family at home that I need and want to be here for.  And then I realized that I am going after these goals, at a pace and time that fits with my family and our schedules.

I have always wanted to be the very best mom that I could be.  By always, I mean when my first child was born more than 16 years ago.  This is a dream that I am blessed to live everyday.  Being a wife and a mother is what life it all about for me.  This does not mean that I am unable to pursue other goals or dreams, but it is where my priority and my heart are at this time.

What are my other goals and dreams?  I want to be a professional Genealogist.  I have a deep desire and love of genealogy, whether it be my own family's or for somebody that has come to me for help with their family history.  I won't be a professional any day soon, but I can still work on it almost any day that I want to.  I can progress, learn, and develop until the day comes that I am ready to pursue it on a professional level.  For now, it is an enjoyable hobby that I am very good at and that I receive a great deal of joy from.  It could very easily be the job that never feels like work.  I am a stay-at-home mom right now; but if I ever have the need or desire to go back to work, at least I know what I'll want to do.

I want to learn to play the cello.  I taught myself how to play the piano, and I taught myself how to play the violin.  Learning to play the cello is a desire that has waxed and waned in me for the past 15 years. This desire has grown immensely this past year and I'm realizing that it is almost time for me to find a way to make it happen.  Whether I find a place to rent a cello at a bargain price or I save up and purchase one, the time is almost here.  I find a great deal of peace and serenity when I am able to make music.  I also love playing in string ensembles, and finding a cellist proves to be very difficult.  It would be great to be able to fill that roll.

I want to be physically fit.  Okay, this has been really hard for me over summer vacation with my children at home.  With our family vacation and their swim lessons in the mornings, scouting, and sports in the evenings, I have neglected myself over the summer.  I couldn't justify to myself the 3rd or 4th drive into town so I could go to the gym, and I didn't want to take a couple of hours of the day that I could have spent with my kids by leaving them to go workout.  With school starting up again next week, it is my time to make a comeback and establish the healthy exercise habits that make me feel oh so good.  My body is a temple, and it deserves to be treated as such.

It is safe to say that The Art of Non-Conformity has made me take another look at my life.  There is always going to be room for personal improvement and stepping outside of the box a bit more.  Though for now, I can honestly say that I am at least "90 percent happy".

0 comments from people we love: