Getting Over Conventional

I’m a unconventional person.  Despite the typical wife, two kids, pet fish and a nice house exterior of my life I really don’t particularly care what other people think of me most of the time.  I eat what I like, save more money than I spend on junk and don’t care all that much when gas goes up $0.13/L from some storm in Texas because I take the bus to work.

Early retirement is not conventional.  Really when you think about it, the entire act isn’t something people normally do.  Hence being unconventional to get there is really just a basic requirement.  So why do we still stumble over conventional thinking at times during our journey?  Because like many things in life, it isn’t a black or white issue, but rather a sea of shades of grey.

For example, people don’t mind if you take a lunch to work if you eat out with them once in a while.  I actually do eat out once in a while, but not because I feel I have to, but rather I just like eating out once in a while.  So am I conventional for doing this or unconventional because I do it for a different reason than social acceptance?

I don’t spend money on haircuts (I cut my own), I rarely spend money on prepackaged food (I buy fresh instead and make my own), I don’t watch much TV (I instead watch movies) and I only own one car which we leave sitting in the garage for over half the week.  For all of these items I really don’t care that much what other people do or think about me for doing them.

Yet at the same time I dress like most other people at my office.  I like a beer or a drink of wine when I’m out once in a while (despite the fact I know the mark up is huge).  I also like to live in a nicely decorated house.  So am I conventional for these acts?

In the end, it is a personal choice.  The key is you must choose yourself.  Don’t accept what you are supposed to do as the correct option when in doubt.  That is where most people get into trouble.  They accept conventional ideas because they are easier to gain acceptance with.  They don’t realize that being unconventional can often be more comfortable on a personal level and easier in the long run.  It just takes a bit more effort to decide what really matters to you first.

5 thoughts on “Getting Over Conventional”

  1. Great post CD. I agree that most people get in trouble due to conventional thinking, as well as seeking approval from others. I also ride the bus to work each day, and often between our business locations. People seem surprised that I would not drive and seem to think of the bus as a “lesser” option or not think of it all. By thinking conventionally, they are eliminating the power to choose which has financial repercussions.

    Choosing where we want to spend money (i.e. a nice home or a drink out once in a while) and where we don’t (second cars or haircuts), provides us with more freedom and flexibility. It also means that we are not caught in the trap of defining ourselves by our possessions or expenditures.

  2. I feel the same way and agree with you 100%.

    “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who matter won’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.” Dr.Suess

  3. Hmmm…

    I may be a bit simple to ask this, but how do you cut your own hair? Do you trim it? Or do you have a style of some sort you have mastered?

    The thing preventing me from cutting my own hair, is that it will probably cost me more in terms of respect from my colleagues, and boss than it would save in terms of money.

    Come to think of it: People who look good probably have better promotion prospects, so doing your own hair may have an actual financial downside as well. 🙂

  4. Nice topic, one thing I’d like to add is people also need to be careful and diligent financially if they’ve made a choice to make sure and follow through on it. You might have an unconventional goal to save money or spend less, but then in actual fact if you don’t budget and organize your life to meet that goal you could end up making casual choices that end up changing your outcome.

    By being distracted over the last few months our family has slipped off our budget. We bought some things and had extra expenses we hadn’t planned for. Now we need reorganize our spending so we can bring things back in-line or else face falling significantly short of our year end goals.

    I think if you aren’t willing to make sacrifices there isn’t any pain from slipping off course, making it easy to do again.

  5. zonsksau,

    I use a clippers to cut my hair. I keep a very simple haircut with about 1 inch on the top and 3/8 inch on the sides and back. It’s almost the exact haircut I’ve been paying for others to do for years now. My wife cleans up the back for me.

    Actually if anything cutting my own hair is helping me at work. I used to avoid getting it cut because of the pain of making an appointment and then getting it done. So it often got too long. Now I cut it more frequently because I can do so easily.


    Ha, that’s my post for today somewhat!


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