Society has norms. That’s how we all get along. And when people around us break those norms, we sometimes feel a bit threatened, a bit uncomfortable. I am not talking about norms that are put into law for people’s safety, like murder or rape. I mean things that are simply considered by most people to be “inappropriate”.
And most of us are really quick to chide those who violate those norms. Oh, sure, most of us do so only in our heads. And when we do so out loud, we try to do so “good naturedly” so as to appear less rude than we really are being. But let’s face it, we all say or think such admonishments.
But sometimes, we reproach too hastily. Here are three very common, almost stereotypical rebukes that we would do better to keep to ourselves – and that you would be best to ignore if they are launched at you.
Get a job!
In many cases, this is more like a curse, an insult or a threat. I am not saying that nobody should have a job, but if God has graced you with the skills and opportunity and character to follow your passion without a job, so much the better.
By way of background, there are very few people with total freedom. A few people are almost self-sufficient in their homesteading and a few people are independently wealthy. The rest of us have to barter with other people to get the things we need or want.
I am self employed. I have am still dependent on other (my clients) and so much of what I do is governed by their needs. But I am much freer than someone who has a job.
Even amongst job-holders, there is a big difference one’s level of freedom. A teacher has no choice about what hours he works or what days he takes for vacation; his tasks depend on coordinating his schedule with everybody else. A clerk at a large store can usually choose shifts and co-ordiate vacation days with other people.
A freelancer can work whatever hours he wishes. What a cruel thing it would be to tell him to “Get a job!”
If you live to teach, if that is your passions and that is your fulfillment, you have no choice but to trade in some of your freedom, and you most likely feel it is totally worth while. But if you are doing something else that you find fulfilling, if you are following your passion, ignore the ill-advised advice of the get-a-job crowd.
Get a room!
Are passion and love and romance and affection things we find distasteful? Apparently we do when it is done in our presence. I am not sure where our discomfort comes from. Perhaps it is envy or jealousy – that it is too vivid a reminder of how our own lives lack that level of passion and excitement.
I think public display of affection is a good thing. Rather than hide what we don’t do enough of, so that we can feel smug in our own comfort zones, why not be reminded of romance? Why not be reminded that we could be a little more passionate? Why not pull us out of our comfort zones and increase our own levels of affection?
Sometimes discomfort is a bad thing. Sometimes it is a good thing. Don’t get a room; share your affection with the world.
This is perhaps the worst common rebuke I know of. It is typically launched when someone is acting silly or childlike. When someone is not carrying herself with sufficient dignity or maturity, often (but not always) in public.
The problem – and yes, this is a big problem – is that when we become adults we often stop acting silly. We stop kidding around. We stop joking. We are told that we have to carry ourselves with dignity. We are conditioned to believe we have to act reserved. We stop laughing. Don’t look at me that way; how many times do you actually laugh out loud in a typical day? Not nearly enough for your own basic health.
If anybody ever tells you to grow up, there is one thing I recommend you do: laugh!