I’ll be honest with you here. People think I’m a little weird. Not weird enough to alert the cops, but the kind of weird that might leave someone scratching their head in bemusement when you say something that flies in the face of conventional ‘wisdom’.
I get it all the time. The day I quit my job to teach guitar was one such occasion. Everyone I spoke to kindly informed me that I was stark raving bonkers and should wait a while before deciding to do something as ridiculous as giving up a life I hated for something I loved.
Of course, what a fool I am!
There isn’t a one size fits all approach to life. If 51% believe something to be correct, does that mean the remaining 49% should blindly follow their lead? What if that ratio was a little closer to 95% and 5%? That’s pretty edgy, man.
How about 99% and 1%? Woah…
That’s what I’m dealing with here. I want to be in that 1% – living life on my own terms without being condemned for being a little strange.
Well, I am a bit strange. It’s why I’m wearing Santa socks 49 weeks before Christmas!
It’s easy to migrate to the 1%. If you flee the herd and push the boundaries of what you deem to be acceptable based on your own values, you’ve succeeded.
Therefore, the following conventional pieces of ‘wisdom’ are completely alien to me now…
1. You must get a safe career and work towards your retirement
Retirement sucks. Think about it, you spend your whole life dreaming of the day when you can finally stick it to your boss and embrace the endless possibilities of what a whole day with fuck all to do will undoubtedly bring, when you look in the mirror and realise that your trouser belt is around your nipples and you have a face like Mother Theresa’s arse…
Shit, what happened?
I’ll tell you what happened.
You were sold the greatest con in history. You spent years believing that the aim in life was to find a safe job that paid just enough to give you a nice roof over your head and kept you out of trouble long enough so that you could one day jack it all in, sit back, and enjoy your retirement with a nice cold beer.
Why would any sane individual give up the best years of their life in exchange for the virtual prison sentence that is their career?
I say, worry about old age when it arrives. Enjoy your youth. Spend your 20’s and 30’s doing all of the cool stuff that you’ll be too frail to accomplish in your final years; such as sowing your wild oats, travelling to exotic destinations and making a million and one mistakes completely guilt free.
Retirement doesn’t exist. You work for 40 years and eventually, when they finally kick you out for being a smelly old bastard, you’ll discover that all you have to look forward to is another 20 years of regret.
You don’t want that.
2. You should settle down with marriage, kids and a mortgage as soon as possible
Speaking of virtual prison sentences…
Uh oh – ‘cynic’ alert cometh.
Hmmm, where shall I start with this one? You see, it’s not just our retirement plan that is shoved down our throats on a daily basis as young whippersnappers. Oh no, we’re also fed the lies that unless we find ourselves with a ring on our finger, a bun in the oven and the mother of all loans by the age of (insert culturally arbitrary relevant figure here) then somehow we are failing at life and we should all go and sit in the nerd corner with Norman and his cyber buddies.
It’s a pile of crap, seriously.
It’s all well and good if you genuinely find someone who is decent enough to put up with your ‘quirks’ without feeling the need to punch you in the face at least once a week. That’s great, it really is, and for that I commend you on your good fortune.
In reality though, most people end up in situations that destroy their natural zest for life.
Shh, they won’t tell you this, oh no. But they know it, and you know it, and they know you know it and you know they know you know it too.
We all fricking know it.
Simply, don’t feel forced to enter a relationship, or worse, a marriage unless your heart is truly in it. I would rather be single and happy than committed in the asylum to a relationship that was going absolutely nowhere.
Divorces can be expensive. Children crap everywhere. Houses you own (but don’t really) are a nightmare to get rid of.
The loved up life is a truly great thing, but don’t chase something that may not even exist. Unless you’re deeply religious, then you’re probably used to it and married with seven kids anyway.
God loves a trier.
3. Play hard to get if you want to get laid
For years we have been spoon fed Hollywood’s naïve and useless advice that in order to get the girl (or guy) we have to relentlessly pursue them with overly romantic gestures and passive aggressive neediness.
It makes sense on the face of it. Romantic comedies are designed for women, and women like a happy ending.
Stop sniggering at the back.
It filters down into all facets of society and as a result, we’ve been raised to blindly follow dating methods that are at worst, wildly out of date. So what happened? Neil Strauss happened.
You know, the author of ‘The Game’ – the bible to virgins the world over and the book that took the idea of using tactics and rehearsed lines to pick up women into the mainstream.
I bought it. So did millions of others. It kinda worked. But the problem is that a new generation of guys now believe that in order to bag themselves a woman, they must behave like imbeciles.
What’s wrong with achieving a healthy balance? I don’t need lines or stupid gestures to get a woman. I don’t need to send countless text messages and pelt their bedroom window with stones in the hope of luring them out into the open. Nor do I feel the need to dress up like Liberace and wear an eye patch just to stand out from the crowd.
It’s never the act itself that succeeds in dating. It’s the intention behind it. Needy is needy – regardless of how it is served up. Are you playing hard to get? That’s needy. Are you texting someone every day? That’s needy.
It’s unattractive and you will drive people away, stop it.
I refuse to play games these days and I also refuse to serve up my balls on a platter. I’m just honest, open and vulnerable at all times. It doesn’t ‘work’ because it’s not a game or a tactic. I’ve learnt how to be ‘me’ and people will either say yes or they will say no.
Find someone you like and go for it.
4. You must learn to drive otherwise society will hate you
I’ve never owned a car in my life and as ridiculous as this may sound, I’ve never sat behind the wheel of one of these hulking chunks of death either.
I simply have no interest in ever doing so. I’m in good company too.
William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Tutankhamen and Christopher Columbus were all non-drivers and look how they turned out…
I just don’t see the appeal. Occasionally, I admit to being slightly envious of the lazy when caught in a sudden downpour, but the pros far outweigh the cons.
People usually ask me such enlightening questions as ‘but where is your freedom?’ or ‘what if you want to go somewhere?’
Hey, doofus: I can go anywhere I want, whenever I want and I can get blind drunk whilst doing it. Hell, if public transport decides to have a day off I can always use my legs or hitch hike my way into a serial killing one way trip to terror.
See? Cars = dangerous.
I’ve had friends who have lost their lives as a result of a traffic accident and I’ve seen far too many cordoned off crash sites to ever think to myself ‘yes I want me some of that shit’. If I lived in central London or Manhattan then I would probably be seen as the epitome of sanity itself but alas, I don’t.
Saying that, I can’t be arsed to go to the gym later, does anyone fancy giving me a lift?
5. Money should be saved or put away
We humans have a somewhat unhealthy relationship with money. We spend our entire lives in pursuit of a bigger bank balance but we struggle to realise how elusive this goal will remain. We become desensitised. We want more. Greed takes over and we base our own perceived self-worth on how deep our pockets stretch compared to everyone around us.
It is after all, the only thing that differentiates the rambling lunatic on the bus from a kick ass Bond villain.
So why are we terrified of spending it?
This scarcity mentality is boring and a sign of weakness. As I’ve said before, we work to live, not the other way around. Money doesn’t exist anyway. It’s just information stored on a computer. There’s a cool agreement that each of us have with our banks – it’s a secret, so come closer and I’ll reveal all…
If you ask nicely, they’ll give you a piece of plastic that you can use to purchase cool stuff. All you have to do is type in a few numbers and you suddenly stop being boring. It’s as easy as that.
Yes, saving money is the grown up thing to do if you want something that is currently too expensive.
But saving for no reason? Where is the fun in that?
If I want something, I don’t hesitate. If I overspend than I don’t worry because I know that I will earn more money to replace it.
I’m not rich. I consider myself pretty poor actually but that doesn’t make a difference.
Money isn’t gold. (Unless it actually IS gold, in which case you probably are a Bond villain) So don’t treat it like it’s about to suddenly vanish from existence. In the future, when time replaces money as our source of income, it will be the same for everyone so chill out and treat yourself to something wonderful before the world implodes and you lose everything.
6. You should always finish your meals
We’ve all been there. Sat at the dinner table, knife and fork in hand, staring at the 3 potatoes left on our plate with a look of utmost disgust and horror – Trying to figure out exactly in which dark corner of our distended stomachs we will send this starch filled monstrosity.
The pressure is unbearable. Years before Adam Richman turned food masochism into an art form, we were at the mercy of our sadist parents and their bellowing cries.
‘You will NOT leave the table until you have finished your meal’.
Waaaa – there is only one possible way I can clear this plate without embarrassing myself in front of the dog, yet with those beady mothering eyes watching me… the plant pot will have to wait until tomorrow for its thrice weekly fix of roast hell.
Little wonder we grow up with asses to give the Kardashians an inferiority complex. In my opinion, we should be striving to enjoy our meals and finish when we goddamn feel like it – not when some over bearing parent arbitrarily decides to rule with an iron fist and the logic of a North Korean dictator.
Eat until you’re fully satisfied that your hunger cravings have diminished and get on with the rest of the day safe in the knowledge that you’ll never scare anyone whilst bending over in public.
7. Don’t talk to strangers
Unless you’re a 6 year old girl or enjoy stumbling through downtown Detroit at 3 in the morning, you should be striving to break this rule as often as possible. I can guarantee that everyone reading this could do with a stranger in their world.
Yet we’re all too afraid. Years of being told that terrible things will happen to us if we take it upon ourselves to piss off someone we don’t know. Millions of men the world over will rather stare into an empty pint glass than walk over to a beautiful woman and strike up a meaningful conversation.
When we do speak to someone whom we have never met before, the first words that come to mind are usually those of an apologetic nature.
‘I’m terribly sorry to disturb you madam, but you do have splendid legs, could I possibly trouble you for the time please?’
Cos that’s just how we roll in England.
I’m truly excited by the prospect of meeting someone new and awesome. Soon I will hang out with a new best friend and I can’t wait to see what crazy times we will have. I will kiss a woman that will change my life and have a late night football debate with a random drunk dude in a pub.
There are billions of weird and wonderful individuals out there; you’d be surprised at how many of them would love to meet you.
Make it happen.
Which of life’s rules do you feel like breaking today?
Are you a conformist or do you enjoy swimming against the tide?
Let me know in the comments below and if you enjoyed this article, please share it via Facebook, Twitter and spread the word.