I am not Standard – E&OC

standard of living
standard of living

I am not Standard

In life there are certain occasions where you are reminded just how extraordinary it is to be alive. To be a human, born of the Universe, living this human existence. To be human is to be anything but standard. I am not standard, and neither are you. There are different standards of living, but there are choices we make to extend beyond what everyone else is doing.

My friend got married last week. It was my first time at a COVID wedding. I think the way she and her family organised it made it all the more special. My friend and I met for a get-together, just the two of us, before her wedding day.

She and I both think differently. We don’t necessarily agree on everything, but considering the people that surround us, we think more similarly comparatively. We went for a hike at our local lake. There, we reminisced about all the times we had spent together and the events we had been together through.

We oohed and ahhed about the progression of experiences we experienced as individuals and friends.

We talked about how much we have grown. What it meant to us to have watched each other grow, too. There were discussions about the past ten years, the Hen’s weekend, the present, and the future.

There were laughter and query and a sense of finality to this chapter.

One thing in particular that stood out to me was when my friend said we weren’t standard.

We were discussing relationships we have without siblings. And how even though we have better and good relationships with them now, it is apparent that there is a distinct difference between them and us.

I wondered with her if that was because we are the eldest. Or if the handful of years between our siblings and us was big enough to have a generational influence too. While I think it might be a little bit about that, it isn’t enough for there to be feelings of isolation from siblings.

Actually, the reason we feel isolated, and why we don’t have as close a bond to our siblings as our siblings have with each other is because we think differently. Maybe that is a bit obvious. We are all individuals, so we think differently.

But I think when it comes to family, there are specific patterns and behaviours that we inherit and mimic. That is the nature of growing up in a family. You learn from them, and so naturally, you are a little like them.

We moved on to the discussion of friends. My friend felt that her longest friends were falling away. It didn’t matter how much she seemed to be able to connect with her friends in the past, there were now barriers.

That she was too different. Or, that she had grown too much.

I reflected on this too, because I have had friends fall away. Friends who I thought would be with me throughout the rest of my life. Friends who I have implemented boundaries with and who I think were never really friends with me in the first place.

I was too different. Or that I had grown too much.

So we sat on a rock, overlooking the lake, and my friend blurted out that we had grown so much because we weren’t standard.

At first, I thought that wasn’t right, that she and I are just like everyone else. But that thought lasted for a split second, and I came to agree with her. We weren’t and aren’t standard.

Because, to grow, you have to make a choice. For a multitude of reasons, there are contexts where making the decision to be different or to extract the trauma we grow up with. Sometimes the abuse is too much. Perhaps the idea of living better, living with better mental health is so triggering to our wounded selves, that we collapse at the mere thought of it.

I think a lot of us are tired too. Day in and day out, there are trials and conditions to our lives. Wanting to be better and live better compared to the standard of living is an exhausting and lifelong venture.

But for me, the standard of living is too closely related to my childhood and the neglectful and wounded time of my life that I shrink at the mere thought of going backwards. I think, actually, that I am quite fearful of going backwards.

My friend, on the other hand, who thankfully did not suffer the childhood that I had, still knew that there was something more for her. And that came from shattering the standard of living in her household, which was to follow standard social constructs and participate in society just like everyone else. Which, there is nothing wrong with, it is just not for everyone.

And so, for me, and for my friend, even though the reasons are dramatically different, the standard of living was too standard. We pushed and struggled and succeeded to overcome the traditional expectation of us. On the other side of the cliff, after taking the leap, comes the conclusion that we are not standard.

I think that a lot of us know this deep inside, by merely existing, we know that we are not standard. But, by exploring methods to heal and better ourselves, we refuse to submit to the standards of living imposed on us by society and hierarchy, and we stand – different.

Even though you might think that is ego thinking, to so boldly state that you are not standard, I don’t think it is. It is the ego that keeps you trapped in endless cycles of fear so that you can’t break free and heal yourself.

I think the proclamation that ‘I am not standard’ is your higher self proclaiming your individualism.

Isn’t it lovely to reclaim individuality by recognising the strength it takes to refuse to accept the standards of living imposed by life—what a wonderful lightbulb moment to have with a friend who has grown with you. And what a relief to know, that even though one chapter of our friendship has closed, we are moving forward to the next one together.

And, even if you are not quite where you want to be, just as I know, I am not, I’m still not standard. I’m completely, entirely, perfectly imperfectly, me.

It’s glorious.

Tea of the day – Dandelion & Chicory Tea

Stay safe, be kind, and feel free to reach out below. Join me on Pinterest or Instagram, or just say ‘hi’ in the comments below!  

With love and eternal optimism, 

J.R. Sonder

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