Be proud of who you are. Write your own rules. And start living the dream.
I’m probably a walking-talking anachronism, and I don’t have a problem with it. I’ve always loved old things. When I was little, I was often called an old soul. I couldn’t disagree. But I never thought that I wanted to live in an earlier time. I may be an old soul, but I’m also a strong feminist. No earlier time frame would have suited me. I enjoy the freedoms my predecessors earned too much to give them up.
But I do love so many things that have fallen out of fashion- some that fell out of fashion long before I was even born. I enjoy antique shops, records, classic rock, classic films, handwritten letters, thank you notes, postcards, reading actual books one can hold in one’s hands, and having real conversations as opposed to texts. I’m a vintage girl, but I live in the modern world.
Of course, I’m not entirely clinging to the past. I love my smart phone, and I talk to Google so much I feel as if I could count it as one of my closest friends. I enjoy my DVR and the convenience of streaming shows and movies at home. There are things I love about the modern world, but I also want to be able to hold on to the essence of the things I love while still enjoying modern comforts.
It becomes a balancing act, but one I feel is important to be true to myself. My modern self may enjoy binge watching Netflix, but my old soul appreciates listening to records and enjoying an old radio show on vinyl. There’s nothing quite like a suspense story read aloud by none other than Vincent Price.
I still enjoy haunting a library or book store and holding a book in my hand- breathing in that book smell, new or old. I enjoy walking through antique stores and imagining lives in what I see. I love adopting a vintage item and incorporating it into my life- a vintage tea cup holding a modern blend. I can head to the theater to take in the latest action film and still love, with all of my heart, the vintage films that fill my soul.
There are people who will want to make fun of what they see as our oddities. Let me just say this: when someone criticizes you for the things you love, that’s one big waving red flag. No one else has to understand why we love the things we do to have a respect and appreciation for the fact that we do. The world would like us to think that we can’t have it all, that it’s either/or, and that we have to change with the times.
We write our own rules. Sometimes we don’t realize that, as we’re too busy following the unwritten ones of society’s dictates. However, no one else should be dictating what’s acceptable for our lives. Those who criticize us for the things we love because they only love what’s popular? They’ve coined a term for that: basic bitch. And the thing of it is that I don’t have anything negative to say about a basic bitch. If what’s current and popular is what someone loves, there’s no shame in that. Nor is their shame in loving things that have fallen out of fashion.
So rock your top hat or listen to your 8 track. Write the rules of your own life, basing them on a deep authenticity for what you enjoy. It isn’t about being eccentric or different or standing out. We don’t, I hope, love what we love for the attention it garners but because we do. It’s as natural to us as breathing.
And if it isn’t? If we feel that we’re in wrong skin, doing the wrong things, and always feeling out of place? That’s when our intuition is telling us that we’re following someone else’s rules. We’ve allowed someone else to dictate to us how we feel about our bodies, our life choices, and even something as simple as our tastes and interests. When we feel that ache and discomfort, it’s time to realign ourselves with our true selves and true values.
But, you might be asking, how does one do this? How do we even figure out who we are and what we want and separate that from what we’ve been told we should be and should want?
Meditation. It’s hard to determine what we want when we never get quiet enough to center ourselves to hear it. Learn to have pockets of peace in the day to focus on your breath. Instead of trying to silence your thoughts, see what arises. Acknowledge it without judgment but pay attention.
Yoga. I didn’t understand yoga at first. I thought it was more of a physical discipline, an effort to become more flexible. It took me a while to realize that the real physical exertion and balance of yoga often open up spaces of peace. There have been times when I’ve been holding a pose and had tears start flowing as a part of myself opened that hadn’t before or a truth came to me that I needed.
Lists. Make a list of priorities. What would your dream life look like? What does your life look like now? How are they aligned or misaligned? How can we start to make changes to align them?
Support. We need to figure out which people in our lives support us and which ones stop our progress. Who are the naysayers of our lives, the ones who always have something negative to say when we step out of our box?
Conversely, who are the ones who speak out when they notice our patterns of behaviors and encourage us to lead fuller, more meaningful lives? Who supports us in our dreams? We need to start surrounding ourselves more with our true support system and to spend less time with those who keep us from thriving with their endless opinions of how we should be living.
Steps. Take one. Make one change. It could be as small as cleaning out a closet or sending out an application. Start with one thing. Set manageable goals.
For instance, I want to travel. It’s an ache in me, and it’s always been there. But I’m also a single mom who lives on a perpetually tight budget that often falls into the negative. How is it reasonable to even dream of travel when I can barely put enough gas in my car to go down the street? Last year, I purchased my first passport. Step one. This year I took a short road trip to a place I’d never been. It’s local travel, but it’s a step. Maybe next year I can find a way to start saving for a trip from my bucket list.
Not now doesn’t mean never. Unless we never take the first step.
I’m an old soul in love with old things. And that’s okay. Just as it is okay that you are who you are in love with the things you love. When we truly know who we are and what we want, we can begin to write the rules of the lives we want to live. We can start living our dreams instead of just saying that one day we will. We can start today, with one step. And tomorrow, with another. As we walk into a future that aligns with who we are and what we dream.