Happy Monday, loves!
It’s okay to be non-traditional. I like to say that my husband and I are the most traditionally non-traditional people ever. We are your typical high-school sweethearts who got married, traveled, built a house, built a life, started having babies, advanced our careers, and made dreams come true – we are very traditional in that aspect.
We are very non-traditional in that we spend literally every waking moment together because we share an office. We both work from home. He has his dream job with a company he loves, and he works from our home office every day. I started my business a decade ago (I’m a writer – I create web content, landing pages, service pages, blog posts, etc. for my clients) and I’ve worked from home ever since. We don’t do the “See you tonight, have a good day,” kiss at the door in the mornings thing.
We work out together at lunch. We date one another. We still really like one another and spending time together. We are both workaholics. We aren’t traditional. I’m not traditional. And that’s all right.
But if there is one thing you learn about living life in a way so few other people live it is that there is a lot of negativity. It’s “Normal” to wake up in the morning and go to work for someone else for 8 hours a day making a few dollars an hour. It’s “normal” to hate Mondays and look forward to the weekend like it’s your life-line. It’s “normal” to come home from work in the evenings and literally say you’re not on the clock, so you’re not doing a damn thing for anyone at work.
But that’s not our normal. Our normal is always thinking about work – it’s how we maintain our success and how we’ve managed to surpass every goal we make for ourselves so much earlier than we imagined we’d be able to meet said goals. Our normal is freedom and control. Our normal is no pants, no problem (sorry FedEx and UPS men…I know y’all don’t appreciate that as much as we do).
Normal is whatever you want it to be, and that’s what’s so amazing about life. What it doesn’t mean, though, is we are exempt from negativity. There are always people in life who want to bring others down to their level. Negativity comes from two places – negative people try to bring you down and downplay your successes because they are disappointed in themselves for not working harder to create their own dream, or their negativity comes from fear based off a lack of understanding.
For example, it’s easy to grow up believing that once you’ve been married 13 years, you don’t have sex as often. You argue. You don’t find your partner so attractive. You don’t date because you have kids. You’ve let yourselves go a bit, and you don’t spend much time together. We’re taught that marriage falls a little bit into a ‘comfort zone’ and the ‘honeymoon’ phase wears off after a while. So that’s what many people believe.
But that’s not our reality, and it doesn’t have to be yours. My husband and I are closer than ever. We work out together, we date, we find one another attractive, and our private life is very, very good. That’s our reality because we realize we get to create that for ourselves and do whatever we want – we aren’t required to fall into what’s considered ‘normal’ in the world. You get what you want by working for it.
Another example: I hear moms all the time complaining that they want to lose some of their baby weight or that they don’t have time to do their hair or makeup or bother with real clothes during the day, and that it’s not ‘normal’ for a mom to dress up daily or work out regularly. They let their idea of ‘normal’ become an excuse for not reaching their dreams.
Listen, I get it. Reaching your dreams and getting what you want out of life takes a lot of work. You have to be willing to go a lot of extra miles, to do what other people aren’t willing to do, and to put in the werk to get it done. Getting started is hard; I know. But allowing your empty goals to seem all right by calling them ‘normal’ is not all right unless you’re totally fine with that and still cool with the success of other people in their lives.
I’m off on a tangent here, aren’t I? I’m just bothered so much by negativity. This weekend was one of the most spectacular weekends. We spent all day Saturday – and I mean all. Damn. Day. from wake-up to bedtime – at our best friend’s river house with them, our four kids, and their three kids. We missed the first party there because our daughter had her dance recital a few weekends ago, which was a huge disappointment because it’s been months since they told us they were buying it and we’ve been excited to see it for so long.
As we spent the day lying on the dock while the kids swam and kayaked and dove and did gymnastics and caught tiny fish and played together like they’ve been doing their entire lives, we were just talking about how we were living the dream. Getting to do what we want and love each day, having all the freedom we’ve ever wanted, and #livingourbestlives every day.
Yet there are still people in the world who want to bring their own negativity into all our lives, and sometimes you can’t get rid of every single toxic person. We like to surround ourselves with the best people, and we’ve always done it. But there are times when negativity does find its way in, and you have to deal with it. Without getting into the details, some people just can’t be happy for you no matter how many dreams you reach, how much success you have, how much you do for them, how much you give…and that’s all right.
Normal isn’t the same to everyone.
I think it’s “normal” to be happy for the people I love when they succeed. I think it’s “normal” for people to say they want to do something in their life and then do it, succeed, and love life. I think it’s “normal” to have everything I’ve ever wanted.
The problem is people are taught that normal is one thing, and so many people are afraid to go outside that comfort zone of ‘normal’ and go after what they want. There’s room for everyone to succeed. There is room for everyone to get what they want in life, and there is plenty of room to love your own life and what you’ve accomplished while still also being happy for those who’ve done the same in their own lives. Normal is everything you want it to be, but negativity is still negativity.
Whether you are living with negative people in your life or you are the negative person in your life, it’s not too late to learn to create your own normal and get rid of negativity as much as possible. Trust me, it’s a work in progress. I’m like a million percent imperfect, but I try to remind myself of these things each morning. I get up, shower, take my coffee to the couch so I can read my First 5 and spend some time with God, and then I read these quotes I have saved in my phone to remind myself of who I am and what my normal looks like before I start my day.
Each one is a helpful tool, and maybe once you change how you approach normal and negativity in your life, you’ll inspire those around you to take a cue from your positive attitude and do the same.
- Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks.
As long as you’re happy with your life, it doesn’t matter if anyone else is happy. If you aren’t happy, fix it.
- Don’t gossip.
This one is hard because it’s so easy to discuss other people, but it’s also small and unattractive. It’s not easy to forgo partaking in idle gossip, “Did you hear so-and-so did XYZ?” might not seem like gossip when someone is relaying a story to you about someone else, but it is. I can assure you as I’ve gotten older, it’s become more obvious to me it’s pointless. There should be about 10 million important things in your own life that deserve the attention. Besides, it’s ugly.
- Don’t take it personally.
You will never be the best at everything. Not everyone will love you. Not everyone will understand you. Not everyone will want to see you happy or successful. It’s cool, though. Don’t take it personally. Most people only dislike you because you represent something they are not or something they want to be. Or else you are just totally out of your mind crazy…but that’s all right, too.
- Be kind.
Honestly, there’s nothing cooler than someone who is a good person. It’s nice.
- Enjoy your life.
If you love it and enjoy it, love it and enjoy it. Happiness is fun, and your idea of happiness is your own. Embrace it, live it, love it, and enjoy every second. You aren’t meant to be just like everyone else. Just because your life doesn’t match up with what someone else feels your life should match up to doesn’t mean it’s not your reality. Your marriage doesn’t have to be like everyone else’s. Your parenting skills don’t have to be like everyone else’s. Your level of happiness doesn’t have to be like everyone else’s. You get to create your own happiness, and that’s what life is all about.
I like to say I’m living my best life, and I mean that. It’s not always perfect, but it’s always good. Even on the bad days, I’m taking something with me that makes the good days that much better – and my attitude helps me keep things from being that bad. If you’re not living your best life, figure out what you need to do to make it happen. You can take control of your life, live your way, and you can change what you don’t like about yourself. Choose to be happy, choose to be positive, and choose to respect that about others as well.
I like to surround myself with people who are like me. I like people who are happy for other people. I like people who support one another, and I like people who make me laugh and really enjoy life. I choose people who love their marriages and spouses. I choose people who sometimes think their kids are assholes. I choose people who have the same values and morals as myself. I have the best people – and I’ve had them for a very, very long time (and I cannot wait for our getaway in less than three weeks!)…and they know who they are!
I hope you’re doing the same. You can’t always avoid the people who are toxic and negative. You might be forced to spend time with them on occasion, but you aren’t required to let their issues become your issues. And always remember this – I’m happy for you. I support you. I applaud your successes, and I encourage you to try again when you fail. Failure, after all, is the best learning tool and educational asset.