Sunday’s Inspiration: F#ck The “Status Quo Lifestyle”, Do Your Own Thing

This is (probably) the final Sunday’s Inspiration of 2013 and I hope to bring you more of these in the new year. I’m trying to inspire others to travel, to get out and see the world and not succumb to what society forces or encourages you to. Today, do yourselves a favour and don’t succumb to “the status quo lifestyle”. Or f#ck the status quo as the title of this article states, blatantly and without apology. Seriously. Be yourself. You’re allowed to be who you want.

sundays inspiration

Sunday’s Inspiration: F#ck The Status Quo, Be Yourself! Working in London dressed as a frog.

What is the status quo?

Good question and I think it is the term that best fits the point I’m trying to make here. I don’t mean a rock band or a political status. I’m not going to look up a definition of the status quo for you, but what I believe it is is this:

“Doing the same thing as everybody else in a society because it’s the done thing to do” (or something like that at least for the benefit of those reading)

“the way you should live your life”

“what society wants you to be like”

An example of a “Status Quo lifestyle”

OK, from a Northern Irish and British perspective, I see a status quo lifestyle as a routine upbringing where everyone in society is expected to do the same thing, translated roughly as this:

1. Born

2. Textbook childhood – go to school, eat some local food, make some friends in your community

3. Teenage Angst – rebel against your parents for a bit, try smoking and drinking then realise your exams are actually more important than you first thought. Revise hard and get good results cos it will make you rich. You still have time to smoke and drink, don’t worry.

4. Early adulthood – leave school and either get a local job, or head to University. If you’re not a lazy person you’ll have a job at the same time as you are studying. Most will choose an “easy to get into” University so they can still see their family. Get drunk too much, but get your degree in the end.

5. Travel for a bit if you have the cash. Do the cool thing and head to brilliant places like Thailand, USA and Australia. Throw in a trip to Poland just to prove you do culture as well. Plus you got invited by your Polish mates you made working in a coffee shop.

6. After 6 months of travelling, you’re bored of living out of a backpack so you return to your home country and get a job. A real job.

7. You meet your partner and get married. You keep your real job.

8. You have kids. You keep your real job.

9. You might change jobs a few times, but you won’t take risks while doing so, you’ll stay within the same industry making as much cash as you can to support your family.

10. If you’re lucky you’ll get 4 weeks away from your home to travel and have holidays.

And that becomes your life.

fuck social norms

This is my life – F#ck the status quo! (photo taken ay Yuanyang Rice Terraces, Yunnan, China).

I’m not slagging those who do that by the way. I’m just saying you’re succumbing to the status quo. You’re doing what your parents wanted you to do. You’re doing what your mates are doing. You’re doing what almost everybody else is doing. You’re normal. You’re even slightly boring on occasion. A trip to Tescos becomes your only travelling in your busy week. Buying a Chinese meal is your culture fix.

BUT you forgot one thing – you’re probably not being yourself here. You’re probably not living the dreams you want to live. You got too busy working, you forgot to have a life. You probably got your priorities wrong.

Going through your life cycle in this normal way has meant you have been following some kind of unwritten rulebook on how you should live your life. I’m here today to say “you don’t have to conform”. This is your life.

That’s right – this is your life. In most cases, you are free to decide what you want to do with your life. Especially in countries like England, USA, Australia, Northern Ireland, Germany etc. You have choice. You can be a doctor. You can be a builder. You can buy property. You can own your own pub. You can travel.

I know for sure there are people reading this that are succumbing to the status quo without even thinking about it. They don’t want to stand out from a crowd. They don’t want to break the mould. They seem happy with their lives, yet they moan on a Monday morning: “Oh sh#t – work again”, “roll on Friday”, “can’t wait to get paid” etc. (I’ve been there too and am not a big fan of it as you can tell).

Week after week I get people saying to me “when are you going to settle down?” “why are you still travelling?” and “when are you going to get a real job?” almost as if my lifestyle of travel is crap, I feel people look down on me sometimes. I’m not succumbing to the norm, I’m not a status quo dude, I’m doing my own thing.

Well I have news for you – I have a real job. In fact, in my extensive working career, I’ve had over 50 “real jobs” (what differentiates a barman from a barrister or a farmer from a fireman is NOTHING). A job is a job. A hard worker is a hard worker. None of this shit I get from a load of graduates that a person working in a corporate office job is somehow a better person than a farmer. What a load of bullish£t. The farmer makes your dinner 😉

I’ve succumbed to the status quo as well of course, from time to time and I live by social norms. I even spent a year working my ass off in London doing PR for companies like Apple and Sonos and living “the dream life” that so many normal people believe in. I had better dreams when I took my backpack to South America, Africa etc….

Sorry everyone, a normal life is not for me. I won’t succumb to the system. I won’t be that idiot who does everything by the book. I don’t want to be part of the status quo.

For the last few months I’ve been working on the move, living my travel dreams and pi$$ing on the “societal norms”. I’ve worked for a few travel companies and I’ve backpacked through places like Nagorno Karabakh, North Korea, China, Azerbaijan and Iran. It makes a pleasant change from a “beach holiday” after working your ass off in an office job which you got after university. I still work hard but I’m out seeing the world. Everyday is different.

Spice Girl Mel C said it better than most “don’t be someone who they’ll forget”. For now I just want to tell you : F#CK the Status Quo Lifestyle and do your own thing.

I’m staying in Yazd in Iran writing this, off to the desert tomorrow.

Safe travels my friends.

5 thoughts on “Sunday’s Inspiration: F#ck The “Status Quo Lifestyle”, Do Your Own Thing

  • I would argue that the status quo isn’t necessarily something your parents want for you, per se, but rather something that society as a whole has accepted as the ‘done thing’ and really most people don’t question it, so they end up following it themselves, encouraging the behaviours that conform to it and discouraging those that don’t in others (perhaps in their children). Also I think a lot of people seem to question a lifestyle like yours because they’re jealous of it; they don’t want you to be the constant reminder that they are stuck in a shitty job and you’re out there enjoying your life!
    Sam recently posted…Our Experience with Miami Culinary ToursMy Profile

  • Dear Jonny the traveler..

    You’re right, Jon!
    As traveler, we have to think “out of the box” and also live our life against mainstream (antimainstream).

    You may have real job, but remember. You work is not for to be rich to gain prestige before other eyes, but you work is to achieve your dream. Because we are the dream catcher!

    Great article you have. Thanks for sharing.
    Greetings from Indonesia…

    “Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but pictures. Kill nothing but time”
    TUKANG MAKAN ANGIN recently posted…Explore Things Creatively (Tips-tips Unik ala Traveler)My Profile

  • Thanks mate – glad someone else has the same type of thinking as me!! I’m up for seeing as much of the world as I can. I had enough of the long days doing “real jobs” – now it’s time to get some reward. Safe travels. Jonny

  • A good comment here Sam – thanks. You’re right – my parents don’t necessarily want me to conform – I think they worked out early on, I was never going to. The point I also want to get across is that I have been a conformant and a non-conformant. I worked in London in a busy office. I liked the money and a bit of the buzz of the job, but I only had 4-5 weeks holiday a year. It simply wasn’t enough time for my wanderlust so I quit and went round the world. It’s been over 5 years now since I last signed a rent agreement on a flat for a “term”, and almost 7 years since that office job. Instead of getting jealous, I just want more people to go against the flow. We both know how cool it is to travel the world, hope some of it rubs of on our friends and they get more than a measly 5 weeks of travel per year. Safe travels. Jonny

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