This will be short. I’ve noticed something about myself. One of my guiding principles is to try and avoid whatever everyone else is doing or thinking. That might sound like what a 14 year old emo kid in high school might say, or some hipster kid drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon at an underground bar, but I don’t care. It’s not that I’m a contrarian, it’s just that I have a strong gut instinct against whatever is generally agreed upon by everyone else. If there is an accepted “right track” I’m not interested. If everybody agrees that X is true, I’m more hesitant. Sometimes I like to take just the opposite track even though it’s not as well mapped out as the accepted track simply because I feel there is some intrinsic value in not doing what everyone else is doing. Avoid the herd.
Sometimes I feel like I’m going through life backwards, in relationships, responsibility, and goals. In my head I imagine “normal” as something like a pyramid. The normal narrative goes something like this: Before a boy grows up to be a man, he starts off fairly irresponsible, inconsiderate of others. He shirks responsibility, seriousness, his studies, and jumps has many relationships with various women. As the boy gets older, he learns to be more responsible, taking on duties and jobs in which others depend upon him, his tastes start to narrow as he figures out who he is, and he settles down with a partner.
That’s how I image the typical story goes. Someone is considered “immature” if they aren’t where they’re supposed to be at a given age along this path. If someone is where they’re supposed to be at a given age, you would say “they’re acting their age.”
Well I feel that I’m going along this path backwards in a way. As a teenager I never rebelled, I was extremely responsible for my age, I limited my relationships to serious ones, I never did anything overly dangerous or illegal, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do in life. Among my friends I was always the responsible one, and always happy to take on more responsibility. I never drank, I was always prepared for any situation, I almost always knew what to do, and I always cleaned up the mess.
Now that I’m older I’m sick of it.
Lately I’ve really been stressing out about a few things I really don’t want to do. I stopped to take stock of those things that were making me miserable and they were all responsibilities I had to other people. I don’t want any more responsibilities, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of having other people depend on me, I’m tired of being held down by those responsibilities. I’m fully aware that people are going to give me a ton of shit for saying this because “responsibility is good” is practically axiomatic in our society, but fuck em.
Look, I realize that many people have responsibilities that they did not enter into freely. For example, a family member gets sick or dies and suddenly you’re the only one around to look after the children. I get that. I’m not talking about those types of responsibilities. I’m talking about responsibilities the way a free market capitalist would talk about employment: voluntarily entering into an obligation in return for some benefit. Why else do we voluntarily take on more responsibilities and obligations if not because we believe it will somehow be worth it? Maybe what makes it worth it is a pay increase, or a higher/more reputable standing in society. Whatever it is, I don’t want it.
I know that at this point in my life, almost 25, that I should be honing in on what I want to do for a career, I should start looking for someone to settle down with and have a family, and I should be striving to take on more responsibilities. However, all I want to do is cut all my chains and fly away. Perhaps I’m living life backwards.