Monday, January 2, 2012

"Why?" Well, Why Not?

Throughout my life, I have been criticized by, well...pretty much everyone for the things that I do/don't do or have/haven't done.  "Why don't you watch [or play] sports? All the other guys do!" "Why do you listen to [or watch, or play] that stuff? No one else does!" "Why are you so vocal about your celebrity crushes? They're just silly, rootless fantasies!" "What do you need [insert item(s) I want or just obtained here] for?" "Why do you want to work at a library?" You know, I've been hearing it for so long that I've become used to it.  I get that most people aren't going to understand why I do or like the things I do, and why I rarely do/like the things the general public seems to thoroughly enjoy.
Many times, whether they realize it or not, people get too bogged down in tradition.  I'm not talking about religious traditions; I'm talking about society's unwritten rules for what each person should like and/or do, not just during everyday life, but also for special occasions: Christmas, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, engagements, Thanksgiving, etc.  I've seen that quite a bit over the years; between unnecessary holiday celebrations and things that no one really wanted to do during special occasions but were done anyway due to tradition, it seems like it happens way too much.
I've mentioned before on here that I enjoy bucking tradition; part of it is because my life has always been nontraditional.  Most people grow up with both a mother figure and a father figure; I essentially had two moms (my mom and my eleven-year-older sister) and no paternal figure to speak of.  Most oldest siblings look out for their younger brothers and/or sisters; my oldest sibling (that is, not the eleven-year-older one I just mentioned) was severely disabled and never really could do much of anything.  Most kids have to book a flight or take a long car trip to visit any of their grandparents, aunts, and/or uncles; my maternal grandmother, as well as all of my aunts and uncles and most of my first cousins on my mom's side of the family, lived (and, for the most part, still do live) no more than forty-five minutes from our house.
Sounds completely unlike what you're used to, doesn't it? Well, then, you can see why I don't mind defying tradition.  That may seem weird to you, but I'm reminded of a scene from the sitcom-based Disney movie My Favorite Martian. When Tim (the film's Earthling protagonist) says, "I don't believe in aliens," his "Uncle Martin" (who, in reality, is not his uncle, but a Martian visiting Earth) says, "To us, you are the alien."  I could make a similar statement: To me, you are the weird ones.  True, tradition works for some people; as long as it does, there's nothing wrong with sticking to it.  However, when doing things just because that's the way "everybody else" does them, you have to ask yourself Dr. Phil's question: "How's that working for you?" If the answer is, "Not very well," then maybe you should rethink what you're doing.  Frankly, I see no point in sticking to tradition when all it's doing is throwing a wrench into the works.
You may wonder: If I don't use tradition as my standard for why I do or like the things I do, then what do I use? First off, I use a moral standard: If anything goes against my morals, then I don't do it, and if I have been engaging in an activity, then realize such a thing is sinful, such as using illegally copied software, then I wash my hands of it as soon as possible.  Other than that, it's pretty much whatever I enjoy, whether it's popular or not.  My tastes don't completely go against popular opinion; most people (guys and girls) like Apple technology as well as superhero/science fiction/fantasy movies, and so do I.  Still, just because society says that I have to watch this and shouldn't have that doesn't mean I'll follow their rules.
I often think of Tim Taylor's classic line from Home Improvement: "Some tool men say, 'Why?'  This tool man says, 'Why not?'" I could make a similar statement: Everyone else asks, "Why?" Why do I need six calendars? Why do I listen to artists such as Josh Groban, Michael Bubl√©, or American Idol contestants? Why do I watch Nickelodeon shows and Disney Channel Original Movies? To all of them, I say, "Why not?" Seriously, as long as I'm not doing anything immoral or illegal, then what's the problem?  Similar statements have been expressed in songs by multiple artists/bands, from Hilary Duff ("Why not take a crazy chance? Why not do a crazy dance? If you lose the moment, you may lose a lot, so why not?") to Bon Jovi ("It's my life! It's now or never! I ain't gonna live forever! I just wanna live while I'm alive! It's my life!") to Smash Mouth ("So much to do, so much to see, so what's wrong with taking the back streets?") to even Frank Sinatra ("Regrets? I've had a few, but, then again, too few to mention! I did what I had to do, and saw it through without exemption! I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway, and more, much more than this: I did it my way!") Even the classic poet Robert Frost had something to say about it: "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."  I know that what I do probably doesn't fit your definition of normal.  However, I'm reminded of the quotation from the classic George Orwell novel Animal Farm: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." I have a similar feeling about people: Everyone is unique, but some people are more unique than others.  I should know; I fall into that latter category.  If you know me, can you honestly disagree with that statement? Didn't think so.
Any comments?

1 comment:

Lorie Manfre said...

I think this reads well. You are who you are and that is fine. We all have our unique qualities and you just show yours more then others. For example I like scifi movies but most people do not know that. Anyways have a great week